[After a brief sabbatical from our online devotionals, we are back in the saddle. This entire week I will be exploring "Marketplace Callings," or specific archetypes of callings grounded in scripture that provide a portrait of how to move with God in the marketplace. Next week, we return to our regular schedule of my Mon/Fri Marketplace devotionals, and PJ's Tue-Thurs lectionary devotionals.]
Kingdom Callings in the Marketplace: Bezalel & Oholiab
Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. 6 Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. --Exodus 31:1-6
In the marketplace, we know intuitively that not everyone has the same job. In the natural, such differentiation is the outcome of several factors: demand and supply of specific skills, individual experience and skills, networks, interpersonal dynamics, etc.---all of which serve as competitive differentiation for us and, combined with a bit of opportunism, render us in unique roles. Some are best positioned for teaching, others for completing defined tasks, or leading an organization in times of ambiguity and change, and so on.
However, the mistake is to think that what we perceive in the natural is all there is to consider. Indeed, there is a supernatural, spiritual dynamic at work too: Each of us has a Kingdom calling---a God-ordained invitation to step into our destiny in a way that integrates our gifts and passions with His divine agenda.
And this is most visible, tangible, and appreciable in the marketplace---where our "work" feels like either a rich Daily Encounter with God, or else a dreadful Daily Grind with people. But very little in between. In other words, it's common to see people love their jobs, or hate their jobs... but very few in between.
Sometimes the strengths and interests we perceive about ourselves in the natural align with our Kingdom calling; but sometimes they may not. I believe strongly that until we walk into our Kingdom calling expressed in the marketplace (for the vast majority of us in the marketplace), we will continue to feel "divine discontent" because we are out of alignment.
Now, before you run out to quit your current job, keep in mind that coming into alignment with our divine Kingdom calling can start with a "mere" revelation of our calling. To this end, some of us are invited into the first Kingdom calling in the marketplace: Skilled Artisans.
In Exodus 31, we see the first picture of the Spirit of God coming upon individuals who are neither priests nor prophets. Bezalel and Oholiab were skilled craftsman who were commissioned to build the Tabernacle (a portable precursor to the Temple). The overarching strategic objective for this effort (for which Moses had executive management responsibility) was to build a place to host the Manifest Presence of God. Recall that hosting God's Presence is the major theme for our marketplace journey as well.
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit did not come upon all of God's people. In fact, God spoke only to a few, namely priests and prophets. (In the New Testament, after Christ's Resurrection and Ascension, and the ensuing outpouring of God's Spirit in Acts 2, ALL believers receive the indwelling of His Spirit [God dwelling in us], and sometimes the infilling of His Spirit [God coming upon us to accomplish His purposes]).
Therefore, the filling of these two OT artisans by God's Spirit is significant. They are tokens---prophetic precursors, if you will---of the building and advancing of God's Kingdom in these last days.
Such artisans love to do a particular task, do it with excellence and skill, and most of all bring the Presence of God into the fabric of their work. Father, may You release the Bezalels and Oholiabs in our midst today!