Lost to the Past
Everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work. Exodus 35:21
Upset with the corruption and extravagance plaguing his kingdom, Korea’s King Yeongjo (1694–1776) decided to change things. In a classic case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, he banned the traditional art of gold-thread embroidery as excessively opulent. Soon, knowledge of that intricate process vanished into the past.
In 2011, Professor Sim Yeon-ok wanted to reclaim that long-lost tradition. Surmising that gold leaf had been glued onto mulberry paper and then hand-cut into slender strands, she was able to recreate the process, reviving an ancient art form.
In the book of Exodus, we learn of the extravagant measures employed to construct the tabernacle—including gold thread to make Aaron’s priestly garments. Skilled craftsmen “hammered out thin sheets of gold and cut strands to be worked into the blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen” (Exodus 39:3). What happened to all that exquisite craftsmanship? Did the garments simply wear out? Were they eventually carried off as plunder? Was it all in vain? Not at all! Every aspect of the effort was done because God had given specific instructions to do it.
God has given each of us something to do as well. It may be a simple act of kindness—something to give back to Him as we serve each other. We need not concern ourselves with what will happen to our efforts in the end (1 Corinthians 15:58). Any task done for our Father becomes a thread extending into eternity.
By Tim Gustafson
REFLECT & PRAY
What are the various things God has given you to do over the course of your lifetime? How might it change your outlook to view even your most mundane tasks today as being done for Him?
Heavenly Father, help me choose to serve You today with everything I do.
God had specifically gifted Bezalel and Oholiab (Exodus 31:1–11) with the ability to create all the marvelous artifacts and clothing to be used in Israel’s prescribed system of worship. But the entire nation had the opportunity to contribute. Exodus tells us that Moses asked the people to provide both the materials and their talents to the effort (35:4–19). Moses said, “All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has commanded” (v. 10). But Moses’ instructions came with this caveat: “Everyone who is willing…” (v. 5). Participation in the national effort to construct the tabernacle for God wasn’t compulsory, yet it did come with a blessing: “Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded. So Moses blessed them” (39:43).