Become an Expert — in Something.
The process of wealth creation is a lifelong journey of preparation. God has given everyone abilities to discover and nurture, over time, to fulfill our role as co-creator with Him. Throughout the process, we continue learning, growing, sharpening and expanding our abilities. It is an ongoing adventure with our Lord.
But you are to remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, in order to confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. –Deuteronomy 8:18
Exodus 31:1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 And I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, 4 to create artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, 5 and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, so that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship. 6 And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, so that they may make everything that I have commanded you: 7 the tent of meeting, the ark of testimony, the atoning cover that is on it, and all the furniture of the tent, 8 the table and its utensils, the pure gold lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, 9 the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin and its stand, 10 the woven garments as well: the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, with which to carry out their priesthood; 11 the anointing oil also, and the fragrant incense for the Holy Place, they are to make them according to everything that I have commanded you.”
God has placed in everyone the desire to be a craftsman, of sorts. Many people may not think of themselves as particularly creative or artistic, but there is a deep desire within each of us to excel at something. To leave our mark on the world. To live with purpose. As our creator and sustainer, God knows us intimately by name. He knows our past, present, and our future. Only God knows what He created us for and what we are capable of. The most efficient way we can figure it out for ourselves, is to have a personal relationship with God so He can show us. In living out God’s purpose for our lives, we find overwhelming satisfaction, that we cannot find anywhere else, bringing glory to God.
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” –John Piper
How did God fill Besalel and the others with their desires, skills, wisdom, etc. as craftsmen? He could have instantly performed a miracle in them, as He could in us. Typically though, He orchestrates the circumstances of our lives to develop our character and abilities over time.
“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” — Philippians 2:13
Therefore, we also need to be sensitive to the workings of God’s spirit in our lives to follow His direction. Throughout our lives, we must constantly be preparing to be “called”, and go where we are “called” by God.
The next passage from Exodus 35 is somewhat of a repeat of the passage we just read in Exodus 31, but there are some subtle differences that are important to extract.
Exodus 35:30 Then Moses said to the sons of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 31 And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all craftsmanship; 32 to create designs for working in gold, in silver, and in bronze, 33 and in the cutting of stones for settings and in the carving of wood, so as to perform in every inventive work. 34 He also has put in his heart to teach, both he and Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35 He has filled them with skill to perform every work of an engraver, of a designer, and of an embroiderer, in violet, purple, and in scarlet material, and in fine linen, and of a weaver, as performers of every work and makers of designs.
Not only did God call these specific people to be craftsman, God also gave them the desire to teach their crafts to others. This is a very important lesson when considering who to choose as a mentor or teacher. If anyone desires to truly be excellent at anything, they must seek others who themselves are excellent at it. True craftsmanship can only be taught and perpetuated by other craftsmen. It should be everyone’s desire to develop excellency in their “craft” and to perpetuate their excellency to others.
A student is not above the teacher; but everyone, when he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher. — Luke 6:40
Division of Labor
Though these people were incredibly skilled craftsmen, notice that they fulfilled ONLY their role as called by God. They did not try to take the leadership role from Moses, they did not try to be herdsmen or farmers, or any other role. They simply sought excellence in the desires and opportunities that God specifically gave them. Other people fulfilled the other necessary roles through their own desires and opportunities to create value for their community. They each excelled (some more than others) in their craft, then traded with each other to acquire the needs that they could not have provide for themselves as efficiently. This is what economists would consider the ‘division of labor’.
What an incredible opportunity for Bezalel and Oholiab to demonstrate their desires and skills by building the tabernacle of God. If they didn’t already have the major market share in craftsmanship before, they certainly did after this demonstration. The whole nation will want to seek their expertise for their craftsmanship needs. Also, guess where all the wannabe craftsmen will want to go to school?
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? … 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. –Matthew 6:25, 32–33
When we use our gifts and abilities to align with God’s plan, it can really pay off.
Financing Your Craft
Scaling a nationwide business and establishing a top notch trade school sounds expensive, even in the time of ancient Israel.
In a prior article Never Undermine Your Capital, I wrote about the importance of preserving the “seed for greater wealth”, and how God exemplified this principle for His people as He brought them out of slavery from Egypt. Every Israelite that came out of slavery was well capitalized by the “plundering” of the Egyptians to finance their prosperous future in the promised land.
At this moment in history of building the tabernacle, all the resources needed to complete the project where available within the community. Also, these two expert craftsmen had all the resources they would need to scale their business, once they finish their “relocation” to the promised land. As more people seek their services, they will be compensated to further capitalize and scale their business.
“Everyone should be in two businesses — the one in which you make your living and the other should be the banking business that finances whatever you do for a living. Of the two businesses, banking is the most important. Businesses come and go — banking is eternal.” — R. Nelson Nash (Becoming Your Own Banker)
Where are we storing our capital? Where are we building equity? Where is our wealth being “warehoused”? Is it in a place that is accessible to deploy however we see fit? Does it contribute to our wellbeing and what we are trying to do in our lives?
Each of us should own and control the most important and most profitable business in the world, as it relates to our needs, so that our financial energy will flow to us first, rather than away from us. With more access and control over our financial resources, we will be engaging in the process of preparation, making ready for God’s call.
After all, true wealth is really only created by investing in the one true asset: People. No matter your situation, there is always a great opportunity to invest in yourself and the people around you.
The absolute best way to do so is through the magnificent idea of dividend-paying whole life insurance. It has more in common with banking than it does with life insurance. A better name would have been a ‘banking system with a death benefit thrown in for good measure.’” — R. Nelson Nash (Becoming Your Own Banker)