Monday, February 25, 2019

For the Sake of Others

When the Israelites are instructed to build the Tabernacle in the wilderness, the Tent of Meeting where the Lord will dwell among them for the first time with His own place, very detailed and specific instructions are given to Moses on the mountain. These instructions contain measurements, processes, and everything they'll need to make the Tabernacle exactly like God wants it. 

And then God tells Moses that He has selected a man from Israel who has the skill to do all this. And that He has selected also a helper for this man, a helper who also has the skills to do all this. And that these two men will be in charge of building the Tabernacle. And it's easy to think that these two guys, then, were the guys, that they did it all by themselves, since they were the ones gifted for the work. 

But there in the calling is this tiny little clause, this little bit of a phrase added onto the calling of these two skilled men. He says, "I have given them the ability to teach others."

Which means that two skilled men and a bunch of novices built the Tabernacle.

This is something that we often overlook, but it is just as present in us today as it was in these two guys back then. We think that God has given us our gifts so that we can use them and that He's calling us to a place that only we can serve. We think that the most faithful thing we can do with our gifts is whatever we're gifted to do and that it's upon our shoulders to do what we can when we have opportunity to do so.

Most of us forget the tremendous blessing that it is to share our gifts with others by teaching them and training them in the same gifts. Most of us don't stop and consider that God wants us to teach others to learn how to live the way that we live out of our gifts. 

And maybe they'll never share our gifts; that's okay. But maybe they will. Either way, they get a glimpse of a life they can't understand unless we share our gifts not just through offering, but through teaching. 

Take for example my gift of faith. It gives me eyes to see the world differently than most persons do. It gives me a heart that jumps to certain conclusions that might take others a very long time to get to, if they ever do. It doesn't mean my gift is better than anyone else's, but there's something very important that I offer when I share how my gift works...rather than just my gift.

It's possible that I could just sit here and believe. That's what faith does, right? It just sits around and believes. Intensely. But what good does it do for you if I just sit here and believe in the midst of your problem? We have plenty of Christians who try to do this very thing, who look at someone in the midst of a great battle and say things like, "I believe God is going to turn this around for you." You know what happens? Nothing. It actually makes it harder for the non-faith-gifted person to believe because they don't know why you'd say that and if it doesn't happen the way they think, they can't see it and it looks like you've just got a blind faith.

The key in sharing a faith-gift faith like this is to teach others to see what you see, the way you see. You have to change their vision for their life, let them in on what's going on that's behind whatever they're looking at. If I sit here and believe based on what my heart knows and I am able to teach you to see with your heart, now you have learned a new way of faith that actually does change the way you believe.

And that's what God wants - for us to learn from each other how to do the gifted things He's called us to do. Not that we should just do them, but that we should share them and help others to do them, too. 

Like building a Tabernacle. When the project started, there were two gifted craftsmen, but God gave them both the ability and the mandate to teach others, and we have no idea how many hands wove together those tents. But we know it was more than four. And that's pretty cool. 

Because it made it the community's Tabernacle in a way that it couldn't have been if just one guy did it. It made it Israel's. And that's what it was always meant to be. 

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