May 28, Tuesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Calling and Provision: Corporate”

Exodus 31.6b-11

“. . . and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you: 7 the tent of meeting, and the ark of testimony, and the mercy seat upon it, and all the furniture of the tent, 8 the table also and its utensils, and the pure gold lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, 9 the altar of burnt offering also with all its utensils, and the laver and its stand, 10 the woven garments as well, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, with which to carry on their priesthood; 11 the anointing oil also, and the fragrant incense for the holy place, they are to make them according to all that I have commanded you.”

A favorite story of mine growing up is called “Stone Soup.” It is a story of a lonely traveler who seeks shelter in a village. But when the villagers refused to provide food or shelter, he begins to cook what he calls “stone soup.” Placing a large stone in a pot full of water, he shares how excited he is for his meal. This obviously perplexes nearby villagers. Long story short, the traveler tricks the villagers into contributing carrots, potatoes, meat, etc. so that the soup would be that much better; the moral of the story being how much better the outcome can be when everyone contributes.

Yesterday, we reflected on how God calls individuals to join Him in His work, having already placed within them through the Spirit the gifts and means through which they can uniquely contribute to that work. Today, let’s take a moment to reflect on how this can impact a community when people come together to contribute their gifts and talents for the work of God.

We read that the same kind of anointing God placed upon Bezalel and Oholiab will be placed in the hearts of all who are skillful. God did this so that they may make all that he had commanded them. Calling and provision: the commandment given by God along with the means provided by God to accomplish those commandments. I want to remind you of the context in which this is all happening. They have been wandering the deserts. There is no Walmart or Home Depot for them to pull into to get the materials to make the altar of incense or burnt offering, the utensils required, the thread for the garments for Aaron and his sons, the anointing oil, and the list goes one. Just take a glance over chapters 25-30, and you’ll see how exact God’s instructions are for the construction of these things. Even with a Walmart or Home Depot, these things would be near impossible to bring together.

And yet the people of God are able to fulfill the commandments collectively because God had called them, and through them, provided every means and skills required. We see the beauty of what happens when God’s people collectively respond in obedience to join in what He is doing. We see how the provisions for accomplishing these things are found right within the community. The joy an individual experiences in making his God-endowed, unique contribution to the work of God is that much more amplified when God’s people corporately respond in obedience. In this, we see that as much as we are called individually, we are called collectively—this is what it means to be the church of Christ.

Prayer: Lord, help us to recognize the importance of the Body of Christ, after which we immerse ourselves fully into its corporate functioning in such a manner that we all make important contributions to Your work of redeeming the nations.  In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Samuel 18


Lunch Break Study  

Read: 1Peter 2:4-7a: As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 7 So the honor is for you who believe…

Questions to Consider

  1. Take a moment to delve into the imagery used by Peter in this passage. What insights can you draw from the picture?
  2. What is the promise that is provided in this passage when the holy priesthood of God is built up as a spiritual house? What might this imply to those who choose to be a part of God’s spiritual house?
  3. Whether in the ministries you are serving in or your small groups, do you see this building up of living stone happening? In what ways is God calling you to a greater cohesiveness with other living stones?

Notes

  1. There can be a lot of things we can pull from this image, but couple of highlights: (1) the imagery shows that Christ is the first stone that was rejected, and He is the ultimate cornerstone upon which we are built to become the spiritual house of God. Us being living stones = being Christlike. (2) One stone cannot be a house; only when stones are built upon each other can it become a house. Similarly, the church is built not only by one individual, but when all contribute for the sake of building up of the body.
  2. The promise is twofold. When we become living stones like Christ, we will be rejected by the world. But despite being rejected by the world, the promise here is that the honor will be for those who believe. There is a great honor waiting for those who are part of God’s spiritual home.
  3. Personal response. The passage we studied yesterday (Ephesians 4) can also help provide insight in your reflection.

Evening Reflection

When was the last time you took a moment to thank God for your church? Your local church community is one of the most tangible ways in which you see this collective response to God’s calling. It is the place in which you are built up and where you build up. This evening, take a moment to thank the Lord for your community.

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