Equipped for Vocation

“[The Lord] has filled [Bezalel] with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft” (vv. 31–33).

- Exodus 35:30–35

We serve a great and gracious God who not only saves us by grace but also extends His kingdom by His grace, working through us as we preach the gospel, seek His glory, and love our neighbors as ourselves. And one of the key ways He does this is by giving us each a vocation wherein we can serve Him and earn resources that we can then invest back into kingdom work for the sake of making disciples of all nations. Indeed, we are a royal priesthood, and there are many ways in which we can serve our Creator (1 Cor. 7:17–24; 1 Peter 2:9).

Our God is so gracious, in fact, that He not only calls each of us to a vocation, but He also equips us to perform the vocation to which we are called. We see many illustrations of this in Scripture.  Today’s passage, for instance, tells us that God called Bezalel and Oholiab to assist in the construction of the tabernacle, filling them with skill to do the work necessary (Ex. 35:30–35). Consider also Moses, who was taken from the river by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised as a member of Pharaoh’s household (2:1–10). Certainly, the training he received while he was growing up in Egypt prepared him to lead the Israelites and put God’s law into writing in the first five books of the Bible. Then there is Paul, trained by the leading rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). Surely this explains, at least in part, the Apostle’s skill with the Scriptures.

We could list other examples, but the point is that when God calls a person to a vocation, He equips that person for the work. But, one might say, these biblical examples are illustrative only for those who engage in what we might call vocational ministry. It is true, of course, that these examples did work in ministry in special ways, though it is worth noting that Paul supported his work by the trade of tent making (Acts 18:1–4). However, we do know that God gives spiritual gifts to His people (1 Cor. 12:1–11), and many of the spiritual gifts listed in Scripture will have secondary application to secular labor (for example, discernment and wisdom). Furthermore, we know that God also works in and reveals Himself in the natural order (Ps. 19). And when we consider the natural order, it is evident that different people have different aptitudes, talents, and interests that lead them to different vocations. These, we must admit, are from God. As James 1:17 tells us, every good gift is from our Creator. When God calls us to a vocation, He equips us for it.

Coram Deo

Even though God gifts us with particular talents for particular tasks, that does not mean we put in no effort to grow in those talents. We are stewards of the gifts God has given, and as good stewards, we should be striving continually to improve our skills for the sake of glorifying God in our vocations.

Passages for Further Study

2 Samuel 22:40
Isaiah 45:1–5
1 Timothy 4:7–8
Hebrews 13:20–21

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