Formations 11.01.2020: “There I Will Meet with You”

Exodus 25:10-22

My husband John, a mechanical engineer, has taught himself the hobby of woodworking. His natural understanding of dimensions, measurements, and loadbearing lend well to creating shelves and tables and even cornhole boards. For most projects, before he starts using his saws and other tools, he sits down with a pencil, paper, and ruler to draw his own set of blueprints. Then he follows these carefully to complete each item. He chooses the best pieces of wood, cuts them, drills holes in them, sands them, and connects them to fashion useful objects.

Our home contains several beautiful and handy shelves that John has made. He redid our back deck that looks out into the trees. He created two coffee tables that hold our drinks and snacks while we relax together. The care he took with each piece is evident in its attractiveness and functionality.

Today’s Scripture passage contains God’s “blueprints” for the human creation of something beautiful and useful: the ark of the covenant. Precise and specific, these instructions detail the ornate container that will hold God’s covenant with humanity. It will be an item that reflects God’s glory and represents God’s presence. And yet God wants human hands to construct it. God values human creativity and craftsmanship. God wants us to have a hand, literally, in the things of God. We are to use our knowledge, skills, and creative natures to take part in God’s work. What a privilege and a gift!

I’ve always appreciated my husband’s woodwork much more than any pieces we’ve bought from furniture stores. Knowing that his craftsmanship, muscle, and sweat went into each piece makes them more valuable and meaningful to our family than what we bought. We give these items more honor and take better care of them.

I like to imagine that God, too, appreciates it when we put our hearts, bodies, and souls into the work we do for the kingdom. Such work means more and brings more value than a surface-level faith that merely repeats the right words or checks off the proper boxes. When we give our lives to serving God, we can claim the same promise God made to those who created the ark of the covenant: “There I will meet with you” (25:22). Wherever we serve God with our whole hearts, there God will meet with us.

Discussion

  • What are your favorite pieces of furniture, art, or other special objects in your home? Why do these mean so much to you?
  • Why do you think God was so specific about the creation of the ark of the covenant? What made this container special?
  • How have you used your knowledge and creativity to do God’s work?
  • Why do you think God values our input in the work of the kingdom of God?
  • When and where has God met with you? What was that encounter like?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, and her husband John. Occasionally, she appears onstage in community theater productions and can sometimes be found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel movies, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who, and she’s still trying to write a young adult novel that her girls will enjoy.

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