God, in a sense, is a miser.
Not the sense in that He is cheap with giving good gifts to His children. We know that God has held nothing back from us in Christ, for if He gave up His Son for us, how would He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things (Rom. 8:32)? And we know that in the gospel, God has already given the Christian every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3).
No, not in that sense. In the sense of experiences. God is an experience miser, for nothing is wasted with God.
We don’t typically think that way. We have seasons of life that feel like a waste. We resonate with the children of Israel, wandering around in the desert for day after day, not sure where we’re going professionally, spiritually or relationally. From our perspective, it seems like an arduous, long, gigantic waste of time.
But it’s not. Nothing is wasted with God.
As a case study, I hold up to you two men mentioned only a couple of times in Scripture: Bezalel and Oholiab. These are the guys who God Himself assigned to take the lead in the construction of the tabernacle – the movable structure that would house the Spirit of God.
Yeah, it’s a pretty important job.
Imagine the scene with me: Moses is up on the mountain meeting with God. He has heard chapter after chapter of intricate law, all emphasizing the holiness and transcendence of God. Then he’s heard chapter after chapter of detailed instructions regarding the building of this tabernacle, ranging from the kind of wood to be used to the material for the priests’ underwear. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, God brings up the names of these two men:
“Look, I have appointed by name Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with God’s Spirit, with wisdom, understanding, and ability in every craft to design artistic works in gold, silver, and bronze, to cut gemstones for mounting, and to carve wood for every craft. I have alos selected Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan to be with him…” (Ex. 31:2-6).
There was no brainstorming session on the mountain that day. God didn’t lay out the instructions for the temple and then ask, “So, Moses, who do you think would be a good choice to lead this work? Have you seen anybody doing some good whittling in the camp lately?”
No, this call is very specific. God had called these men by name – He had particularly chosen them of all the rest. But there’s something revelatory about the language here. It’s not that now, suddenly, because of the Spirit of God, these guys suddenly have the capability to be master masons and carpenters. Rather, it’s that the Spirit would bring direction and passion to the skills they already have.
Now take that in for a minute. Let is rest next to the fact that these men, along with everyone else in the desert, had very recently come walking out of bondage in Egypt. And then realize that these skills, the ones to now be used for building the dwelling place of God, were honed in the cruelty of the Egyptian chains.
For years, the skills of these men had been refined and sharpened at the ends of their taskmasters’ whips. Surely there were days when they didn’t want to go to work. They didn’t feel like building another pyramid. They felt like their lives were a total waste. But Bezalel and Oholiab were destined to find out the miserly ways of God:
He does not waste experiences. The very thing that they considered to be a waste was to be used in the future to construct the reminder of God’s desire to dwell in the midst of His people.
That’s very encouraging, especially if you find yourself in a season of life today that feels like a waste. That seems to have no purpose. That is, from your vantage point, utterly useless. Maybe you don’t think you can change one more diaper. Or file one more report. Or type one more line.
Be encouraged today, Christian – God is no waster of time. He is no waster of experiences. And perhaps today, in the back of His mind, is a future moment when what you are doing today will be called forth in redemption to once again remind others of a God who desires to be immeasurably close to His people.