I truly appreciate every opportunity to preach that I am given. It is always an honor and a blessing to me. Below is the outline of a sermon I gave last week.
Scripture: Exodus 31:1-11
Big Idea: At different times in life we will all take on the roles of expert craftsman, leader, and skilled assistant. At any given time, know which role you are called to, and within that role use your skills to share the love of Jesus with your community.
a. Setting – between the exodus and the exile
i. Practically the last of God’s instructions on Mt Sinai
ii. Exodus 32 tells of the Golden Calf
b. Purpose – to create a throne room for God
c. Scripture: Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, 5 and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship. 6 And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you: 7 the tent of meeting, and the ark of testimony, and the mercy seat upon it, and all the furniture of the tent, 8 the table also and its utensils, and the pure gold lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, 9 the altar of burnt offering also with all its utensils, and the laver and its stand, 10 the woven garments as well, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, with which to carry on their priesthood; 11 the anointing oil also, and the fragrant incense for the holy place, they are to make them according to all that I have commanded you.”
d. In this passage are three different roles:
1. the expert craftsman
2. filled by God with the spirit of God
1. the leader
2. Listens to God
3. Points others in the direction God is going
1. the skilled assistant
2. Appointed by God & given skill by God
3. But the expert responsible for completing the work
4. A helper
5. Just as responsible for accomplishing God’s will; but not in charge
e. These three characters are excellent examples for us because: At different times in life we will all take on the roles of expert craftsman, leader, and skilled assistant. At any given time, know which role you are called to, and within that role use your skills to share the love of Jesus with your community.
II. When we are Bezalel, the expert craftsman…
a. Who was Bezalel
1. “In the shadow of God”
2. As if to say even the most skilled craftsman is a step behind God
ii. Beginnings as a slave & training in Egypt
1. Imagine humble beginnings first stone carvings
2. Developing his skills making idols in Egypt
3. Years in slavery and finally able to use his talents
iii. Calling by Moses
1. Spent his early life getting ready
2. Only after being called by God through Moses was he unleashed (ch35-40)
iv. Legendary candlesticks – particularly blessed
1. Legend: The candlestick of the sanctuary was of so complicated a nature that Moses could not comprehend it, although God twice showed him a heavenly model; but when he described it to Bezalel, the latter understood immediately, and made it at once
b. Sometime you are Bezalel
i. You are an amazing person who has been gifted in unique and extraordinary ways. No one else has the knowledge skills and abilities which you possess.
ii. There will be moments in your life when you are filled with the Holy Spirit and called to be the expert craftsman
1. Those moments are few and fleeting
a. Bezalel did not spend most of his life in this role (only chapters 35-40)
b. In the same way you will seldom be in this role
2. Those are the moments in which you can have an extraordinary and immediate impact on the world
3. Example – Stephen (first martyr) – Acts 7 defense before the Sanhedrin
a. was deacon; called upon to defend faith
b. used KSA learned earlier in life for this moment
c. How to respond as Bezalel
i. The role of expert craftsman is a short term assignment
ii. Listen to the leaders in your life
iii. Wait for the Holy Spirit to fill you and call you
iv. Don’t assume you are the expert; Jesus advice in Luke 14:
1. 8 “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? 9 The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table! 10 “Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. 11 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
v. When your time is over, can you retreat? This is a short time role.
III. When we are Moses, the leader…
a. A leader listens to God, shares God’s vision with others, and calls experts & assistants based upon God’s leading
b. A leader should almost never be the smartest/best person in the room; rather a leader surrounds him/herself with skilled assistants and individuals who can be called to the role of expert craftsman
i. Cambridge hiring – specialists/analysts
ii. Committees should not be filled with “warm bodies”; rather skilled assistants and potential craftsman
c. How do you lead Bezalel – Letting them take over where my ability stops
i. Candlesticks & projects
ii. Leaders must have trust in those they are leading
IV. When we are Oholiab, the skilled assistant…
a. Not the leader (Moses) and not the expert worker (Bezalel)
i. This is where we all spend most of our time
ii. Assistants are indispensable/ too often feel redundant
b. Teams cannot succeed without skilled support players.
1. did not paint the Sistine Chapel alone
2. Had a team of at least a dozen talented artists assisting
ii. Sports –
1. no individual can win a team sport on their own
2. the greatest QB cannot win Super Bowl on his own – ask Peyton Manning
1. Elder committee cannot function with only one elder – it takes a team working together with little glory and often under much duress.
2. CE cannot function with just a chair – it takes an army of teachers, administrators, planners, decorators, and helpers
3. Pastor cannot function alone
a. I need a group of elders who are watching my back and telling me about potential problems before they become major problems.
b. I need committees that, in everything they do, desperately want to share Jesus with the community around them
c. I need a congregation that wants to exude love to everyone they meet.
c. Oholiab had amazing skill. He could have been the expert craftsman on any other project. Yet he did not throw a temper-tantrum when another was placed in a position over him.
i. It can be difficult when you feel you are Bezalel, but are called to be Oholiab
ii. Dealing with feelings of anger, inferiority, being a third-wheel
1. Elder in Ridge Farm
2. What I should have said: “You are a skilled assistant whom God has blessed and is using in other ways.”
V. Queries & Application
a. At different times we all play the roles of Bezalel, Moses, and Oholiab; of expert, leader, and assistant.
b. Bezalel, the expert
1. When have you played the role of Bezalel?
2. When have you been the expert craftsman?
3. If not Bezalel, What are you doing to enable yourself to take on the role again in the future?
4. If Bezalel, What are you doing to enable yourself to transfer out of this role?
ii. Application – If you are currently in this role than you have a chance to accomplish something remarkable and you need to listen to the Moses in your life and work with the Oholiabs around you to finish what you have been called to do.
c. Moses, the leader
1. When have you played the role of Moses?
2. When have you been the leader?
3. Within that role how have you raised up Bezalels and Oholiabs?
ii. Application – If you are currently in this role, take one project in your life that you love, but that you have been struggling with, and hand it off to the person who should be doing. As a leader you should be sharing what God has been telling you.
d. Oholiab, the assistant
1. When have you played the role of Oholiab?
2. When have you been the skilled assistant?
3. What has your attitude been like when you are considered “the assistant” in an area where you would typically be the expert?
ii. Application – If you are currently in this role think of the Bezalel in your life who needs you the most. This week help him or her accomplish something amazing.
As we enter into open worship please remember that: At different times in life we will all take on the roles of expert craftsman, leader, and skilled assistant. What role are you called to right now? How are you using your role to share the love of Jesus with your community?