The Why Behind Using Our Gifts

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Lately I have been listening to a book about an artist who loved his work. When he worked, he worked and worked and worked; and often when he vacationed, he worked then, too. He was one of those rare, super-talented individuals who learned how to earn an abundant living by doing what he loved, making it both his vocation and his avocation.

I am convinced that this artist was gifted in many ways. Sometimes he used those gifts to create works that have blessed many people. Other times, though, his work had a dark side that didn’t honor God at all.

The Scriptures are clear that God gives certain gifts to certain people. When God commanded the Israelites to build the tabernacle, He talked to Moses about two individuals (Bezalel and Oholiab) to whom He gave special creative gifts. God also spoke of others, saying “in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill” (Exodus 31:6).

Wouldn’t it have been exciting to visit the workshop of Bezalel, Oholiab, and those others in whose hearts God had put skill, as they worked on the beautiful textiles, wood, and metal objects which made up the tabernacle, its furnishings, and the garments that the priests wore? Those craftsmen must have learned so much from one another.

Model of the Tabernacle. Courtesy Library of Congress. Photo is part of the American Colony/Matson Photo Collection.
Model of the Tabernacle. Courtesy Library of Congress. Photo is part of the American Colony/Matson Photo Collection.

These gifted individuals had choices. They had the opportunity to spend their days creating beautiful works of art that honored God. They also had the opportunity to use their talents in the opposite way. People who had the skills needed to make the bronze altar could have used those skills to create idols instead. Those who made the elaborate garment for the high priest could have made enticing clothing for prostitutes.

The choices we make may not seem as black and white as those I just mentioned, but each person has to decide whether he will use his God-given gifts for Him. Our gifts glorify God, or they do something quite different. As we train children and help them use and hone their talents, we must also help them understand and implement the very important why behind them.

As each one has received a special gift,
employ it in serving one another
as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Whoever speaks, is to do so as one
who is speaking the utterances of God;
whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving
by the strength which God supplies;
so that in all things
God may be glorified through Jesus Christ,
to whom belongs the glory and dominion
forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:10-11


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