Then Moses said to the people of Israel, "See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and He has filled him 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. And He has inspired him to teach, both him and Oholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of workman or skilled designer.”
Artistic talent is a gift from God. The skills that enable that talent to be expressed are hard won; they don’t just happen. My parents paid for piano lessons for me for three years but I never took the practicing seriously enough to develop that skill. Now I wish I had! But some people are profoundly inspired to put in the time and hard work required to develop it. That, too, is a gift from God.
Some have the talent and skill to make beautiful art but not the ability to teach others, while some are highly gifted with the ability to teach and pass on those skills to the next generation of God-gifted, talented artists of every sort.
The purpose of every gift and of all that we do with those gifts is to show forth the glory of God. The justice, mercy, goodness and beauty of God can be displayed for all to see, hear and understand, by artists, musicians and singers, painters and sculptors, architects and builders, bricklayers and electricians.
Too often, we use our God-given talents for own glory. We focus on building our own career, our own reputation, on becoming wealthy and famous. We glorify ourselves, not God. We become proud of all that we have accomplished by dint of our hard work.
It’s appropriate that we should be able to look at what we have done with a sense of satisfaction. These are things that not just anyone could do. But never forget that whatever talent you have been given, whatever skill you have developed, whatever gift of teaching you have received are from God, put into your hands for His glory.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17)
The great Johann Sebastian Bach signed each composition with the letters “O.D.G.” Meaning Omni Deo Gloria, “to God Alone, Glory.” He understood it.
Lord, I know that every talent I have and every skill I have developed are gifts from You. Forgive the self-centered, egotistical way I have used them, and my sinful pride, as though I myself were the source of it. Help me to use the gifts You have given me to make You more clearly visible to others, on earth as it is in Heaven, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles