The Upper Room devotional reflection for Monday, November 16, 2020 comes to us from Lucinda J. Rollings of Indiana
Exodus 35:20-35 20 Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence, 21 and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the LORD for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. 22 All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the LORD. 23 Everyone who had blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen, or goat hair, ram skins dyed red or the other durable leather brought them. 24 Those presenting an offering of silver or bronze brought it as an offering to the LORD, and everyone who had acacia wood for any part of the work brought it. 25 Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun—blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen. 26 And all the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair. 27 The leaders brought onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. 28 They also brought spices and olive oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. 29 All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the LORD freewill offerings for all the work the LORD through Moses had commanded them to do. 30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.
Romans 12:5-6 (NRSV) We, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us.
I don’t enjoy cooking or washing dishes. So when members of the church prepare dinner each night of revival meeting, I don’t volunteer. “Are you going to be here to help?” the dinner director asked.
Ugh, I thought. I told her we had somewhere else to be But it turned out the we were able to leave early, and we arrived at church 15 minutes before the revival meeting started. I went to the kitchen to see if I could help, and found six stressed women struggling to clean up in time to attend the service. “What can I do?” I asked.
“We need the tables washed,” one answered. I can do that, I thought as I grabbed a wet towel and began to clean the messy tables. To my surprise we cleaned up on time, and I was glad I had offered to help.
That night reminded me of the Israelites building the tabernacle. Many willingly brought offerings. God gave specific talents to some, like Bezalel and Oholiab, engravers and embroiderers. Washing tables may not be as high on the gifted list as cooking for two hundred hungry people, but it was part of the ministry. Each of us working together provided revival attendees with filled bellies, ready to feast their souls on God’s word.
Prayer Focus: To Overcome Reluctance to Serve
Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for giving us abilities that we can use in your service. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Thought for the Day: Each act of service I perform is a gift to God.
— Lucinda J. Rollings
When we moved to Michigan, I became a stay-at-home mom in the traditional sense for the first time. We became active in what would become my home church. When someone from UMW called me to ask if I would help with the semi-annual rummage sale, I responded like Lucinda Rollings responded to the request help at the revival meeting dinner. UGH!
But I agreed to help for one day. In the process of helping, I became a rummage sale convert; from that first day, I never skipped a day of helping with the sale until I went away to seminary. Most of my wardrobe and my boys’ school clothes came from shopping there.
I remember the UMW receiving a letter from a woman in the nearby community, giving thanks for that effort. She had been unemployed and had come to the sale to find an outfit for a job interview which she completed successfully. Her letter was a reminder that our work was more than a fund-raising effort for the UMW.
I learned the lesson of service and its value, even beyond the obvious, and to this day, I try not to miss an opportunity to work at a church rummage sale. I always manage to add to my wardrobe, as well.