Bezalel, Harry Potter, and our need to create in community

So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded. Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.” (Exodus 36:1-5)

We’re in a series exploring the few passages of Scripture that focus on the life of Bezalel—the first person the Bible says was filled with the Spirit of God—extracting applications for our own work as culture makers today.

This morning’s passage from Exodus 36 focuses our attention on this truth: Culture making is never a solo endeavor. All of us need community to create.

In Exodus 31:6, we are told that God “appointed Oholiab…to help [Bezalel]” in the creation of the Tabernacle. So God, in His graciousness, gave Bezalel a partner. And in today’s passage, we see that the general-contractor duo of Bezalel & Oholiab received help from the broader community, with the people of Israel bringing “freewill offerings” that were “more than enough” to “carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary.”

Bezalel needed to rely on others to bring his creations to life. The same is true for you and me. In order to do the work God created us to do, we must learn to create in community.

Take these devotionals, for example. My name may be the one you see in your inbox, but make no mistake, there is an army of others behind each email. My friends help me work through the ideas before they’re written. My assistant proofreads each draft. And an email marketing company enables me to distribute these devotionals all around the world.

Not only do we not create alone, but in a way, even God created in community. When we tell the story of Genesis, we tend to only picture God the Father speaking the world into existence. Sometimes we forget that the Spirit was there “hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:2) and that Jesus was present and engaged in creation (John 1:2-3).

Nobody creates in isolation. All creation happens in community.

Why does this matter? Because the embrace of community is in line with God’s design, it breeds humility, and it can protect us from the Enemy’s inevitable attempts to sabotage our creative endeavors.

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry is isolated from his community while at the same time being hunted by his enemy, Voldemort. Harry receives some wise counsel from his friend, Luna Lovegood, who says, “If I were You-Know-Who [Voldemort], I’d want you to feel cut off from everyone else; because if it’s just you alone, you’re not as much of a threat.”

You and I need each other to do the work God created us to do. Embrace the community around you as you work to do your most exceptional work for the glory of God and the good of others!


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