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The Purpose of Craftsmanship

Did you know that the first person to ever be “filled with the Holy Spirit” was a craftsman? In Exodus 31, God has ordained and commissioned the People of God to build the Tent of Meeting. And God says, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—  to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.” You see, craftsmanship is engrained not only in the Bible, but into the hearts of the People of God. For God Himself is the master craftsman. The very first attribute that we learn about God is that He is a Creator –  a craftsman. So we must understand that craftsmanship is an essential aspect of God and His plans on this earth.

If we were to delve into craftsmanship and look at what it really means, we would see that the basic definition is just that, basic. Craftsmanship means to have a skill at making a particular thing. But in all of the definitions that I have looked through, there is always an added aspect that is key. There is always a connection of that skill to artistry in the construction of whatever the craftsman is making. Meaning that this individual is not just a mere builder, one that assembles something for plain functionality. A true craftsman moves outside of the mundane and into the world of an artisan. There is beauty in what he or she crafts into being. The definition of craftsmanship also incorporates a sense of creativity and autonomy that is imbued by the craftsman. The craftsman isn’t a robot built and trained to simply make one thing over and over again with precision and repetition. Instead, the craftsman is meant to flow as the breeze moves through a grove of trees. The branches moving this way and that. So too does the craftsman move with his creation, going where the wind instructs and where the heart calls from the very depths of his or her soul that demands the craftsman to create. A builder can place the tool down and walk away, but for a craftsman, the tool is an instrument that is forged to his or her own body – it is a part of their being just as the heart or the lungs.

A craftsman cannot help but to create.

It is the very life-force that exudes from his or her being. It cannot be simply pushed aside – the will to create runs parallel to the will to survive.  It is here where the craftsman is truly made in the image of God. For what I have described in the passion of a craftsman is the same passion that God has in His own creation – the creation of the world and everything in it, and then specifically in the creation of YOU.

The world, for too long, has focused on creating builders – it is time that we start to train craftsmen. We want the easy, streamlined process. We want the most cost effective. In a world of assembly lines filled with bots there is little room for adventure. The bottom line cannot be artistically drawn, but must be a cold, strong, and straight line of finality. We desire to push out the most units, where costs are low, demand is high, and quality is circumspect and falls subject to that ever-foreboding bottom line. We hear is said all the time, “They don’t make them like they use to!” I fear that the same is true in the workers we create in this world. These are workers focused on their own bottom line of income, benefits, and doing just enough work to get by.

Going back to the Garden of Eden, we see the idea of work as a product of the fall, and the curse applied to our debt. But once again, let us return to the very first words of the Bible, “In the beginning, GOD CREATED…” God is a God of work, and God blesses the work and sees it as good. I don’t know about you, but I tend to feel the most tired on my days off. The days that I lay around the house are the ones filled with sluggishness and exhaustion. The days that I work, especially with my hands, I am still tired, but it is a different level of exhaustion – it is tiredness accompanied by a feeling of purpose. And that is the very difference between a craftsman and a builder – purpose. Too many people are walking around this world simply to get through it, to meet the bottom line. But that won’t fulfill, that will never satisfy the echoes of God’s creation that reverberate through our souls that bring the insatiable desire to create – to actualize the very image of God within our being.

Narrow Gate Exchange is after that actualization. We are after the inspiration that is found within a man that creates. A man that crafts something beautiful. A man that not only delivers a product to market, but one who delivers a product of purpose that beautifully resembles the very face of God. We are not interested in establishing builders, we are in the business of lifting up craftsmen who will take their God-given creativity and create products, create economies, create relationships, and create disciples so that their communities can be lifted to a place of harmony, sustainability, and peace that will then echo their work, their craftsmanship, into the generations to come.

Look for the craftsmanship in your life. Don’t just make a friend, craft a relationship. Don’t just build a bank account, craft a life that truly matters, that is filled with purpose. Don’t just simply be another human shell that merely exists, coming and going in this world.

Become a craftsman of your own life.

A life that can then reach out to the ends of the earth and help craft the very Kingdom of God. The world doesn’t need any more builders. The world needs craftsmen to change the world by walking the path God has given them, living the purpose He has appointed over their life, and being the Light.

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