One of the many skilled people who have helped us reclaim our old house stopped by yesterday. He needed to pick up the drill charger he and his co-worker left here last time. I’m grateful for the plumbers, electricians, carpenters, woodworkers, and painters who have enhanced our house and our lives since we moved in almost exactly sixteen years ago. They have brought many skills that we didn’t have, and they have rescued us more times than we can remember.
I am grateful for the homeschooled children who aspire to many different careers and for the mamas and daddies who encourage them. The Bible speaks of many skills. Esau was a skillful hunter (Genesis 25:27). David the shepherd and future king was a skillful musician (1 Samuel 16:18). Chenaniah gave instruction in singing because he was skillful (1 Chronicles 15:22). Heman had 288 family members who were skillful in singing (1 Chronicles 25:7). A group of Levites was skillful with musical instruments (2 Chronicles 34:12).
When it was time to build the tabernacle, the Israelites needed skilled workers. God said that He had endowed some of the Israelites with the spirit of wisdom and said, “. . . in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill” (Exodus 31:6). Skillful women spun blue, purple, and scarlet material, fine linen, and goat’s hair (Exodus 35:25). A man skilled in working with bronze worked on the temple for King Solomon (1 Kings 7:14). 1 Chronicles speaks of skillful stonecutters, stone masons, and carpenters (22:15). 2 Chronicles speaks of a skilled man who knew how to make engravings; to work in gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone, and wood; to work with fabrics; and to carry out any design assigned to him (2 Chronicles 2:14).
Ezra was skilled in the law of Moses (Ezra 7:6). King David shepherded God’s people and “guided them with his skillful hands” (Psalm 78:71-72).
Last Saturday morning, Ray and I took a walk around Swan Lake, a small lake behind the inn in New Harmony. As we walked along, we searched for the pair of swans we had seen from our window earlier that morning. When we found them, they were across the lake near the inn’s greenhouse.
Of course, I wanted to take pictures of them and was dismayed when I saw them heading toward their house. I was afraid they would go inside.
But they bypassed their house and swam toward us.
They played follow the leader until they were at our feet.
Suddenly a man across the lake called out, “Would you like to feed them?” We picked our way through the mud around the end of the lake. He introduced himself as the groundskeeper at the inn. Evidently that responsibility includes taking care of the swans. He told us many details about them while he threw Cheerios to them in the water. He had cared for the older one inside the greenhouse during a particularly cold winter. He told us that Cheerios are really good for waterfowl but that bread is not. I plan to remember that the next time we are feeding ducks with our grandchildren.
As he talked about the swans, he talked about himself and how much he loves his work as a groundskeeper. When he came to the inn, he knew nothing about gardening. Inn management sent him to Purdue University where he became certified as a Master Gardener. The inn provides him with a home. He sets up chairs for weddings in the inn and at the Roofless Church. He cares for the swans. He cares for the grounds. He plants $1,000 to $2,000 worth of annuals every spring (I had wondered before how much large facilities spend on annuals. Wow!).
What a joy to visit with a man who loves the work he does with his hands. Do you have a little one who loves to work with his or her hands more than “doing school”? I wonder what God has in store for him or her? I encourage you to keep trusting Him, while you train little hearts, souls, minds, and hands.
Do you see a man skilled in his work?
He will stand before kings;
He will not stand before obscure men.