“See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts.” Exodus 31:2-3
In previous chapters of Exodus, the Lord had revealed in great detail the design of the Tabernacle, its sacred articles, and the garments for the priests. Each of these items was to be made from the finest materials possible and decorated with artistic excellence. We should not be surprised that next God specifically chose who would craft these items.
God chose Bezalel for this crucial task because, he explained, “I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts” Exodus 31:3. Given the fact that God’s Spirit was generally reserved in the time of the Old Testament for spiritual and political leaders (prophets, priests, kings), we may be surprised by the impact of the Spirit in Bezalel’s life. He was gifted by God’s Spirit, not to prophesy, teach, or rule, but to create works of art with precious metals, wood, and gemstones.
Engraving and carving don’t appear in the New Testament lists of spiritual gifts. (See Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4) But the example of Bezalel makes it clear that the Spirit of God can gift someone for excellence in the arts.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
The Creative gifts and talents you have been given are from God. We are to use those gifts to grow His kingdom. It is not only important for us to find ways to use our gifts to help others, but it is also vital for our own spiritual development. We are never more ourselves that when we are doing what God uniquely created us to do. When we don’t take opportunities to do that, we are hurting ourselves spiritually. So what does it look like to use creative gifts? Well, growing God’s kingdom happens through relationships. And building relationships happens over time. There are many opportunities for artists to grow relationships in a community. We just have to find our niche.
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:4-8
I’m going to list just some of the examples we have right here in our community to use our gifts of arts & crafts to serve and bless others. I urge you to spend some time in prayer and search the scriptures this week. Ask God to direct you towards what ways you should serve specifically as an artist. Think about the ways God has allowed you to use your gifts in the past.
Scrapbooking – There is a program for Arizona Foster Care that seeks volunteers to create “Life Books” for foster children, researching and documenting their journeys for them.
Sewing – recently there was an opportunity to sew simple skirts out of donated & scrap fabric for a member of our church to take over to Africa. I’m sure there will be more coming up.
There is an organization called AZ Blankets 4 Kids that provides comforting blankets and quilts to needy, seriously ill and traumatized children in our community.
Crafting - Young Lives is an organization within Young Life, specifically ministering to teenage mothers. There are many serving opportunities with them, including a craft night once a month where you can craft with the girls.
Photography – Donate your skill & time as a photographer for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep a group that sends photographers to hospitals where parents have just lost or are about to loose a baby so they may capture memories to hold on to.
Hope Thru Art – Join Steve in making art to bless and encourage the hopeless and homeless of downtown Phoenix.
There are always opportunities for outreach and to build relationships when you teach or take an art class.
And lets not forget your personal art! Look for ways to display your work so that it may touch others and create opportunity for you to share your faith. From your own home, to galleries, art shows and businesses, even on the internet, there are places where people can see and be moved by what God inspires you to make. And just because it may be for sale, doesn’t mean it isn’t ministering to people. Let God lead you with what to do with your art.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10