Day 36

Building the Tabernacle

Exodus 36:1-38, Matthew 27:50-51, Hebrews 9:23-28

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: Exodus 36:1-38, Matthew 27:50-51, Hebrews 9:23-28

“God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.”

This is a popular saying among Christians that, like most popular sayings, is both true and not true. It’s true in the sense that God has a generous track record of calling unlikely, untrained individuals. Shepherds, prostitutes, and unlearned fishermen have all occupied significant roles in the story of God.

However, God also has a track record of calling very equipped people. Moses was raised in a palace under the leadership influence of Pharaoh. The prophet Elisha was discipled by the great prophet Elijah. The Apostle Paul was an expert in the Law, having studied and trained in it since childhood. And Bezalel, Oholiab, and the other builders of the tabernacle were “skilled,” possessing all the “wisdom and understanding to know how to do all the work” (Exodus 36:1).

These different stories capture the paradox of calling, which consists of two seemingly conflicting truths:

On the one hand, God always provides what we need for the task. Whether it’s talent, training, or a handful of loaves and fishes, God’s provision is sufficient for His purposes. We can trust this to be true, and it should instill us with confidence and peace.

On the other hand, we are not sufficient on our own. Moses was trained to be a leader, but he could not summon down plagues. Paul knew the Law, but he relied on the Holy Spirit to deliver understanding. And although the artisans possessed both the talent and the instructions to build the tabernacle, there was nevertheless a lot they didn’t know. They didn’t know what the cherubim should look like. They didn’t know the precise designs of the curtains. They were given a rough sketch, a partial vision, and then expected to construct the rest in faith.

That is the tension of calling. God provides us with more than enough (v. 7), but not so much as to free us from dependence on Him. The secret to managing this tension is guarding the focus of our call, which is Christ alone. When we make our calling about us, we swing between insecurity and pride; between fears about our insufficiency, and a greedy clamoring for fame. But when we remember our calling is about Christ, both our inabilities and abilities are granted an appropriate amount of weight.

We see this balance in the building of the tabernacle: skilled workers, equipped with enough, relying on God for the rest of the vision, and doing it all for the glory of God. They had what they needed, but they never stopped needing God. Our own callings should look the same. We can step into God’s purpose, radiating confidence, while humbly pointing others to the source of it: our all-sufficient Savior.


Sharon Hodde Miller is a writer, speaker, pastor’s wife, mom, and she holds a PhD on women and calling. She blogs at, and is the author of Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It’s Not about You.

Post Comments (52)

52 thoughts on "Building the Tabernacle"

  1. Leslie Limardo says:

    This was really encouraging. I’ve used that first phrase myself but sometimes but didn’t understand it against myself. I am trained in what I’m supposed to don’t feel ill-equipped. However I did/do rely on Holy Spirit for my messages, my speaking, asking Him to show me who needs help. Thanks for making that distinction. You can be well equipped and trained and rely on Holy Spirit.

  2. Peony Noirr says:


  3. Marti W says:

    Moses may have been trained to be a leader, but he was not confident that he could be one. I am much like him, unsure of what to tell people and whether they will listen to me, hoping that someone more qualified will be chosen for the task rather than me. Sometimes it’s not easy to step into a calling, but once we do the results are nothing short of amazing ;)

  4. JoAnne Hart says:

    This was very encouraging to me today. I fully believe that the gifts God gave us are for his purposes and that while he calls us to do things beyond us, it’s not random. We were created with such specific talents for the purposes he has for us. And our dreams exist for a reason. And if they don’t require divine intervention, they probably aren’t big enough. This was just really wonderful to read today as I’m going through the time of life where I’m transitioning into actually doing what I’m passionate about rather than just dreaming about it and while I’m qualified, I still feel inadequate. But God is good and I know he’s leading me into his purposes for my life.

  5. YvonneBonnie Delgado says:

    So many times I felt God point me in a certain direction and it felt great with my new found abilities, but when I stopped looking to him it became a struggle to get things done. Thank you Lord for your mercy and grace and never leaving nor forsaken me!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *