This year the Illinois Department of Child & Family Services celebrates 50 years of, what they describe as, “supporting families.” Yet, if you are a parent or have spent time around people you know that at times the job of caring for others can feel utterly overwhelming, the DCSF website statistics pretty mind-numbing in their own right as they: “receive, investigate, and act upon a report of child abuse every five minutes, child sex abuse every two hours, and the death of a child by abuse or neglect every day and a half. While at the same time an estimated 80 percent of all abuse and neglect simply goes unreported.” It is after all the money is spent, time dedicated, energy poured out that issues, projects and problems all around us can feel beyond our power.
As we continue in series entitled, “GIFTED,” we come to our text from Exodus 31:1-11, where we see God has entrusted the Israelites, a group of homeless, wandering, newly freed slaves, still trying to build a relationship with God what on the surface appears to be one of those overwhelming projects: Exodus 25:8- Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. The assignment is clear–to build a dwelling place for an all-powerful, all-knowing, and always-present God that is worthy of his majesty and glory (creator of the most beautiful sunset and largest mountain) while at the same time practical enough to function in a suitcase of the unsettled and nomadic people traveling to the Promise Land. After laying out a blueprint God goes about revealing then and now man’s role in God’s plan. Beginning with the element of being—
Chosen for ministry- (Exodus 31:1-2) Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah
God throughout Scripture chooses people to make the mission manageable-prophets, judges, kings, disciples, apostles, and saints. Building something that must have sounded like the Panama Canal and would have to function as the Ikea Box Set with meatballs on the side. It is even after confirming the covenant 6 Chapters earlier that hearing all the details could have easily left the most ardent wobbling in their faith, left with the sensation that mother’s get when they without warning half of the neighborhood kids are in her kitchen hungry, or when house guests drop by when the living room looks more like a ball pit or animal cage then human dwelling. Moses’ situation could have easily left him screaming out: “We aren’t ready for this, we aren’t up for a challenge like this—it is too much and we are a people with too little.” Yet God had chosen!
Tthe argument that ensues between the two captains about who team will be submarined by having to take Early in life, there is the pain of not being chosen, and then later in life there is fear of being chosen! You might find yourself obverting your eyes, keeping your head down, acting like there is something super interesting on your shoes that need your immediate and undivided attention.
Despite our best effort to avoid being chosen, when we give our life to Christ 1 Peter 2:9 reveals we have been chosen for ministry- But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Interesting, even though our project is not to build a physical tabernacle, our call is to build a spiritual tabernacle with the same purpose giving God a physical presence in the world. Yet, even when we feel like we are being called on by God—there is the same feeling that hits on any overwhelming project—-I have too much to do and too little time…it will require too much effort and I have too little strength. So we have to decide if we are the kid on the playground ready for anything or the overworked parent ready for a nap—Is being chosen like getting a case of the plague or winning the crown of Christ? God wants your life to be defined by transformation, not compartmentalization–when we are faithful in answering the call, God is faithful in leading us where we need to be!