Exodus 35:21, 26, 31, 34
“Everyone whose heart stirred him to action and everyone whose spirit was willing came and brought the offering for the LORD for the work of the tent of meeting, for its service and for the holy garments. 26 And all the women whose heart stirred them to action and who were skilled spun goat’s hair. 31 He has filled with the Spirit of God – with skill, with understanding, with knowledge, and in all kinds of work. 34 And he put in his heart to teach.”
“Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person in whom the LORD had put skill – everyone whose heart stirred him to volunteer to do the work.”
So often, Christian workers get burned out and lose their passion. I’ve been there – have you? I love this snapshot of God’s people, filled with passion, calling and skills by God, joyfully bringing their capabilities and serving God. They recognized that their talents were from God and wholeheartedly offered their skills to Him. It reminds me of when I was first saved. The people joyfully served, the worship was vibrant and everyone was excited to be alive in Christ. I have often wished that my life would be characterized by those beginning days and years in Christ. I daresay that the same feeling I recall at that time has waned . . . tempered with harsh realities encountered in this life and the reality of the church not being perfect as was once naively believed. But my faith has also deepened, along with my understanding and love for the LORD.
I deeply love the LORD and weep each day when I write these blogs and consider how great and good God is, but admittedly something is different. The deliverance we experienced was supposed to mean everything would always work out as we expected, right? How do we get that passion reignited? Human nature has a tendency to be excited about anything new. But when time passes and we are numbed by the presence of sin and its affect on people around us as well as ourselves – broken lives and a diminished utopia, we can become disillusioned and lose our joy. Once disillusionment sets in, the once rose-tinted glasses can easily become a pessimistic view – or not. Depending on what our focus is – abundant life in Christ or a comfortable life without troubles in America – will determine whether we truly experience and comprehend the definition of happiness in Christ.
Examining God’s people in Exodus, it is apparent that gratitude, expectations and motivation each played a big role in their passion. It does not mention that they had an expectation or motivation to ascribe toward higher positions within the church, just thankfulness and contentment exuded by their manner in which they served. Notice that these people had a calling on their heart – they were not necessarily there every time the church door opened, or serving in every capacity, but knew instinctively what God has called them to and did it with joy. Sometimes we forget the simplicity of the Gospel and our salvation and lose sight of what really matters.
But perhaps the view that was darkened by life’s reality can actually see clearly, after all. Maybe joy looks different and feels different than an initial shallow joy untested by life’s challenges. Thinking that life should be perfect after coming to Christ sets us up for disaster, but joy looks different to a mature believer who has drawn nigh to the living God. Continuing in that joy is the key. Knowing God’s enablement and strength when life tries your very soul is the greatest peace and joy on earth. Remembering our initial joy in Christ is a great catalyst to reignite our fervor, but focusing on the hope we have in Christ can help us rise above present circumstances into our reality in Christ.
The One Who finished the work will complete it in us, but sometimes when hard times crash in and distract you, it can be hard to see past the valleys. This earth is temporary – may we not waste our life away regretting or thinking things should feel or look differently. Looking to the example of those early Christians and asking God to restore the joy of our salvation back to us reminds us that our initial joy was never dependent on earthly happiness.
Lord, forgive when we take for granted Your salvation and grow lukewarm or forget how amazing You are. Ignite us with a passion for You and Your people all for Your glory. Help us to know our calling and to obediently serve You in a manner worthy of You.