30 And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;This is one of my favorite passages from the Old Testament.
31 And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;
32 And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
33 And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work.
34 And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.
35 Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.
As I sit here, my wife is working on a Sunday School lesson on stewardship. The Christian idea of stewardship revolves around the idea that all that we have - our lives, our finances, our abilities - are gifts from God, and that He has given them to so that we might accomplish His purposes. It's a sobering thought.
Here, we see that this idea of stewardship isn't something that comes solely from the New Testament. It's a concept that permeates the Old Testament, as well. Bezaleel and Aholiab were two men that God gave special abilities to. They were craftsmen without peer, skilled in all manners of work. These two men were smiths, stonemasons, carpenters, chemists, jewelers, weavers, and so much more, all wrapped up in one.
These two extraordinary men actually had two commissions from God. We see the first of these in Exodus 31:6, where God tells us that these men were given to the people of Israel so ".. that they may make all that I have commanded thee..." They were given their skills and abilities by God, and God expected them to do His work and direct the construction of the tabernacle. So we see that a good steward has a responsibility to use his or her abilities to their fullest in the service of God.
There is a second commission that is revealed in Exodus 35:34, though. In addition to their skills and abilities, God gave both Bezallel and Aholiab a desire to teach. For these two men, being a good steward did not involve just using their abilities to serve God. It also involved passing on their knowledge, experience, and skills to others, so that those men might serve God as well.
We see an this repeated in the New Testament, where the emphasis on teaching is continued and expanded. Jesus apparently considered teaching an essential part of his ministry, because He "...went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom..." (Matthew 4:23) Paul told his spiritual son Timothy that he was not only to teach others, but that he was to teach them to teach as well (2 Timothy 2:2) . All Christians are commanded to teach and admonish one another "in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" (Colossians 3:16) Teaching is the first part of the Great Commission, by which believers are commanded to evangelize the world - "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations..." (Matthew 28:19-20)
Using my skills and abilities to serve God is only the first step in being a good steward. If I am not taking the time to teach others - my children, my Sunday school students, my fellow believers, my friends and family - I am falling short of the responsibilities that God has entrusted me with.