Our Daily Bread — The Blacksmith and the King

Read: Exodus 31:1-11

Bible in a Year: Judges 19-21; Luke 7:31-50

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. —Colossians 3:23

In 1878, when Scotsman Alexander Mackay arrived in what is now Uganda to serve as a missionary, he first set up a blacksmith forge among a tribe ruled by King Mutesa. Villagers gathered around this stranger who worked with his hands, puzzled because everyone “knew” that work was for women. At that time, men in Uganda never worked with their hands. They raided other villages to capture slaves, selling them to outsiders. Yet here was this foreign man at work forging farming tools.

Mackay’s work ethic and life resulted in relationships with the villagers and gained him an audience with the king. Mackay challenged King Mutesa to end the slave trade, and he did.

In Scripture, we read of Bezalel and Oholiab, who were chosen and gifted by God to work with their hands designing the tent of meeting and all its furnishings for worship (Ex. 31:1-11). Like Mackay, they honored and served God with their talent and labor.

We tend to categorize our work as either church work or secular. In truth, there is no distinction. God designs each of us in ways that make our contributions to the kingdom unique and meaningful. Even when we have little choice in where or how we work, God calls us to know Him more fully—and He will show us how to serve Him—right now. —Randy Kilgore

Father, grant me an awareness of my place in Your work. Help me to see You at work in the people and places where I spend my time.

God will show us how to serve Him—wherever we are.

INSIGHT: The tabernacle was to function as God’s dwelling place where the Israelites could come before His presence (Ex. 25:8). It was built according to God’s blueprint. He especially appointed two craftsmen—Bezalel and Oholiab (31:1-6)—and gave them the ability to lead the work and teach others (35:30-35). God spoke of a special empowering of Bezalel: God “filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills” (31:3). God also provided the skilled workers needed to build the tabernacle and gave each of them the ability to make everything exactly as He wanted it made (vv. 6,11; 36:1). Sim Kay Tee

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