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Trickle Down

God doesn't always do things the way that we might think that He should.  If I were writing Exodus, for example, I wouldn't have put those six chapters at the end that repeat, sometimes even word for word, what has already been said about the design of the tabernacle.  I also wouldn't have done what He did in preparing a workforce to build the tabernacle.  Out of all the people who would eventually find themselves working on the project, God gave the artistic abilities necessary to build it only to two men: Bezalel and Oholiab.  He then told these two men to teach the rest of them how to do it.  Why not just give everyone the ability right from the start and skip the whole man-teaching-man aspect of the thing? Well, a related question might be: why have men build the tabernacle at all?  Why go to all the trouble to give this ultra-specific blueprint to Moses when God could have just dropped the thing out of the sky already assembled?  The answer to these questions is the same as the answer to the question as to why God doesn't just write the gospel in letters of fire in the sky so that anyone could just look up and understand the offer of salvation in Christ: God delights to use human means to accomplish His purposes.

The gifting of Bezalel and Oholiab with artistic skill and the ability to teach that skill is similar to what God does in the church.  He gifts certain individuals - the preaching and teaching elders (or pastors) - with gifts of wisdom and insight into His word and then also with the gifts to teach that wisdom.  And I'm sure that Bezalel and Oholiab had some of the very same difficulties that we modern pastors have with the task that has been given to us.  Some people don't learn very well.  For some, it's like pulling teeth.  You can tell them the same thing ten times in ten days and on the eleventh day, they will do or say something that indicates that they have totally missed what you have been trying to teach them.  Wouldn't it have been easier if God would have just granted everyone the same level of insight?

But like I said, apparently God delights to use human means to accomplish His purposes.  I say "apparently" because that's the way He operates all through His Word, and we know that if He has the power to create the entire universe in six days, then He has the power to simply skip the middle men if that was what He wanted.

So why does God do this?  Certainly He could just do everything for us so that we would never have to move or lift a finger.  But that is not how He designed us.  He didn't make us to simply be blissful blobs.  He has designed us so that we take delight in serving Him.  He has also made each of us unique, so that His people make up a beautiful, multicolored, and ridiculously complex tapestry.  The people of God are not a one note precise unison, we are a heart-stoppingly beautiful harmony.  None of that would be possible if God simply did by Himself everything that He purposed to do and just made us into a bunch of happy little spots on the rug of the universe.

Of course, the logical outworking of this idea is that we only realize our own unique identity and we only feel the deepest joy that God has intended for us if we are each serving God wholly as He has called us.  There is no lasting joy in merely entertaining ourselves with the slop that the world sets out for its swine.  The real joy lies in giving away yourself in the service of the Almighty.  The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not decorations for your soul, they are a call to serve.  They are, in fact, equipment for the mission that God has given each of us uniquely.  So let's not lament the difficulty of our task; let's take joy in the fact that we have been given responsibilities by the Creator of the Universe to be co-laborers with Him in all that He is doing.  To God be the glory.