Giving Thanks for God’s Gracious Blessings

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

(New International Version; copied from Bible Gateway.com)

I thought I would try something a little different this year.  I want to focus on the many blessings that God the Father has graciously bestowed in my life, centered around the callings He has given to me.

Christian

The first sphere where God called me was to be a child in His kingdom through faith in Jesus.  I have absolutely no room to boast in anything that I have done.  (See 1 Cor. 4:7.)  I simply want to put the spotlight where it belongs, giving glory to God who has been most merciful and gracious to me.  He has blessed me above and beyond anything I could have ever ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).

  • I am grateful God revealed Himself in Scripture; I have learned more about Him
  • I am grateful that I have experienced the presence of Father, Son, and Spirit
  • I am grateful for the hope that has kept me pressing on through a tough year
  • I am grateful for the prayers of family and friends who have helped sustain me
  • I am grateful that I have no fear of death because of what Jesus Christ did for me

Family

The next major sphere that God put me in was my family of origin.  I have so much to be thankful for when I reflect on all the love I was surrounded with from my mom, dad, sisters, brother, and grandparents.  Once I did the “leave and cleave” thing nearly 41 years ago and started a brand-new Christian family with my beautiful wife, Linda, God has continually blessed us beyond measure.

  • I am thankful for my siblings who connected virtually on the 20th anniversary of our father’s death in October and for their words of encouragement
  • I am so thankful for an amazing wife of 40 years; her beauty, love, and wisdom have grown with the years; she is God’s greatest gift to me
  • I am grateful for visits, both virtual and physical, with each of our three children
  • I am so thankful for five amazing grandchildren, one of whom was born in April
  • I am grateful to see the fruits of our labors in our 1st generation Christian family

Work

In order to provide for my family and to fulfill my purposes in the Kingdom of God, He called me to the sphere of work.  This winding spiritual journey morphed from math education, to ministry, to the military, where I still serve today.  This should be no surprise to anyone who knows me, that I have so much to be thankful for regarding employment, as well as to my writing efforts part-time.

  • I am thankful for a great team of leaders and teammates who make me better
  • I am thankful that I get to see God use me in the lives of people that I serve with
  • I am grateful to have accomplished our missions while fighting COVID
  • I am thankful that I get to live out the theology of work in three dimensions
  • I am grateful for doors God opened up to share my work with a larger audience

I trust that whatever you find yourself doing this Thanksgiving, you will take time to reflect on the things that God gave you this past year freely out of His overwhelming mercy and amazing grace.

About the author:

Robin_McMurry_Photography_Fort_Leonard_Wood__Missouri_Professional_Imaging_Russ_Gerlein-7161-Edit-Edit

Russell E. Gehrlein (Master Sergeant, U.S. Army, Retired) is a Christian, husband of 40 years, father of three, grandfather of five, and author of Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work, published by WestBow Press in February 2018. He is an ordinary man who is passionate about helping ordinary people experience God’s presence and integrate their Christian faith at work. Russ received a B.S. in Mathematics from Colorado State University in 1980 and an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 2015. He is a former junior/senior high school math and science teacher and youth minister. He served 20 years on active duty. Russ works as a Department of the Army civilian at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Since 2015, he has written 170 articles on faith and work topics. Eighty of these have been published over 150 times on several Christian organization’s websites, including: the Center for Faith & Work at LeTourneau University, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, Coram Deo, Nashville Institute for Faith + Work, Made to Flourish, 4Word Women, and The Gospel Coalition. (See published articles on Linktree.)

How Can I Identify my Spiritual Gifts?

(Note: This is a follow-on article to one I posted a couple of days ago, where I shared some insights on spiritual gifts that I had scattered throughout my book and in subsequent articles.)

This is not going to be a deep dive into this topic.  Books have been written about it.  (I highly recommend 19 Gifts of the Spirit, written by Leslie B. Flynn.)  I intend to keep it simple.  I have two biblical and practical ideas to share on how you can find out what your spiritual gifts are.  What I am sharing with you now is something that I have thought about and taught a long time.

The party

What would you do if you were at a party, and saw someone spill their snack plate? 

Would you jump in to help clean by yourself?  Would you take charge and delegate someone to get the trash can, another one a vacuum, the other one to replace what was dropped?  Or, would you take them aside after they cleaned it up themselves and try to explain how they could have been more careful?

This method is helpful when you look at the list of what is referred to as “motivational” spiritual gifts, which is found in Rom. 12:4-8.  What is unique and somewhat difficult to understand about this topic is that each of the passages I mentioned has its own list.  There is some overlap, but there about 19 gifts if I remember correctly.  Some are positions in the church, some are broad categories, but this list seems to pair up motivations with seven special abilities that are needed inside and outside the church.

If you would jump in and help them clean up the mess, you may have the gift of service.  If you would take charge of the operation, this might indicate the gift of leadership or administration.  If you biggest concern was their feeling of embarrassment, you might have the gift of mercy.  If your first inclination was to help them to avoid this kind of mishap in the future by shedding some practical or biblical truth on the situation, you might have the gift of teaching or prophecy.

The diamond

Another key question that I came up with myself to help you identify your own spiritual gift or gifts: Which attributes of God caught your attention most when you first became a Christian?

This concept also came from Rom. 12:4-8.  The key phrase is in verse 6, which states, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”  I learned that these two English words gifts and grace come from the same Greek root word, charis.  There is a strong biblical connection here that must not be overlooked to grab the intended meaning of this passage. (See also Eph. 4:7.)

I also noticed while meditating on this section that although our spiritual gifts are different for each believer, the grace that was given to all Christians should be the same to all.  Or was it? 

Could it be possible that God’s grace is somewhat like a diamond with its many facets? 

In the good news that my heart responded to in December 1975, I saw a facet of God’s character much more clearly than others, which then drove how I have focused my ministry with others.

My experience in coming to Christ 45 years ago (which I invite you to read about in more detail in my testimony that I published in an article last year) was that I saw God’s ability to change me from the inside out, which I so desperately needed.  From that point forward, I was all about helping other to discover how God could do the same for them.  I have been diligently practicing my gifts of encouragement and teaching my entire Christian life, and have been seeing results.

What about you?  Did God’s love, forgiveness, comfort, and healing grab you when you heard that He would forgive and cleanse you of your sins?  Were you eager to reach out with a new sense of compassion to bring God’s comfort to those who were hurting?  Maybe you have the gift of mercy.  Was God generous to meet your needs, leading you towards the gift of giving?

Go back and read each of the passages that provide a list of spiritual gifts.  Ask yourself these questions regarding what would be your first reaction in a crisis and which attribute of God attracted you most.  You might see one or two pop up as strong possibilities. 

You might also ask a brother or sister in Christ to tell you what gifts they see in you.  You could also begin to just start practicing them, and see how God blesses and brings consistent results.

In closing, I want to encourage believers to continue to explore this topic and get busy using those gifts that God has given you.  You have been supernaturally equipped to participate in the building up of the Body of Christ.  You have valuable contributions to make.  Go out and serve!

About the author:

Robin_McMurry_Photography_Fort_Leonard_Wood__Missouri_Professional_Imaging_Russ_Gerlein-7161-Edit-Edit

Russell E. Gehrlein (Master Sergeant, U.S. Army, Retired) is a Christian, husband of 40 years, father of three, grandfather of five, and author of Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work, published by WestBow Press in February 2018. He is an ordinary man who is passionate about helping ordinary people experience God’s presence and integrate their Christian faith at work. Russ received a B.S. in Mathematics from Colorado State University in 1980 and an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 2015. He is a former junior/senior high school math and science teacher and youth minister. He served 20 years on active duty and now works as a Department of the Army civilian at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He has written 170 articles on faith and work topics on this blog since 2015. Eighty of these articles have been published over 150 times on several Christian organization’s websites, including: the Center for Faith & Work at LeTourneau University, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, Coram Deo, Nashville Institute for Faith + Work, Made to Flourish, 4Word Women, and The Gospel Coalition.

Random Thoughts on Spiritual Gifts

(Note: This article was posted on the Coram Deo blog.)

A while back, it occurred to me that I have never posted an article on my blog addressing the topic of spiritual gifts.  This was surprising, as I had discussed this topic in several places in my book (which I also posted in articles on my blog) and in an article I wrote a year ago.  I thought it would be helpful to consolidate these ideas here, and then flesh out this critical topic a little more in a separate article.

To help set the stage, so my readers don’t have to go scrambling to find a concordance, here are the passages in the New Testament where the Apostle Paul mentions the importance of spiritual gifts for all believers, which are discussed below: Rom. 12:4-8, 1 Cor. 12:4-11 and 12:28, and Eph. 4:11-13.

Spirit-filled tabernacle construction workers

Here is a summary of the insights I shared in my book, regarding a great narrative from the book of Exodus that highlights the gifted workers who were called to build the tabernacle in the wilderness.

This episode about Spirit-filled tabernacle construction workers also clearly ties in with the New Testament concept of spiritual gifts.  In 1 Cor. 12:7, Paul highlights the value of these Spirit-filled abilities: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”  Tying this verse to the passage in Exodus helps us understand that these artistic talents to be able to fashion wood, metal, fabric, perfume, and provide leadership, can easily be seen as OT examples of spiritual gifts.

We see a clear connection here between God’s presence and human work.  The workers that God called and equipped were not evangelists, preachers, or missionaries.  They were ordinary men and women in secular jobs who were willing to be used to contribute to God’s kingdom.  God will use people just like that today in order to build His church, both inside and outside its walls.

Nelson, in Work Matters, boldly states that “You were created with work in mind.  You have been gifted to do a particular work.  As a follower of Christ who has been born from above, you have been equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirit to make an important vocational contribution, a contribution that God has providentially arranged for you to make in this world.”   Meditate on this, and your attitude toward work will change.

Viewing our identity

I also shared a few thoughts on spiritual gifts in terms of how we see ourselves as Christian workers.

It is important to apply the principles that the Apostle Paul lays out in 1 Corinthians 12 where he compares spiritual gifts/abilities with body parts.  All are necessary; none are more or less important than the other parts.  We cannot take pride in what we are called to do, looking down on others who have different callings.  All in Christ have equal value.

Regarding evangelism

I also mentioned in my book (and in article I posted on my blog) that evangelists were among the few positions in the church that Paul records in Eph. 4:11-13, even though they were not included in the main passage on spiritual gifts in 1 Cor. 12:4-11, or in 12:28.  However, these positions Paul lists are considered by most to be spiritual gifts because they line up with their purpose in v. 12, “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up”. 

More importantly, in 1 Cor. 12:12-26, Paul emphasized that all members of the body of Christ have value, function, and purpose.  Each one needs to use their gifts, not look down on others who do not have those gifts, and to appreciate the contributions of all.

If evangelism is a spiritual gift, I must conclude that not all Christians are called to be evangelists.  We are all called to be ready to share the reason for our faith (1 Peter 3:15).  But those who do not have that gift of evangelism need not feel guilty if they do not have the same passionate desire to share the gospel with everyone they see all of the time, just like those with this gift do not have the same drives and motivations as others in the Body of Christ to be administrators, serve, have mercy, teach, etc.

Every team member contributes

In my article, “Building Your Team by Showing Dignity and Respect” I wrote about spiritual gifts.

In 1 Cor. 12:12-26, we read a brilliant analogy concerning various parts of the human body.  In context, Paul had just been teaching about spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:1-11).  He writes that there are a variety of spiritual abilities that every Christian has that the Holy Spirit gives to each one as He wishes.  In the same way, the human body is made up of many parts and forms one complete body. 

These individual body parts failed to understand that they each had a divine purpose and were connected to one another and to the head, just like this local body of believers, whose members forgot their unity in Christ.  The foot should not think that it does not belong to the body just because it is not a hand.  If the foot was missing, how would the body walk around?  Additionally, the eye can’t say to the hand that it is not needed.  Every part contributes to the whole.  What Paul is saying to them (and us) is this: every member of the team is essential, has a unique purpose, performs a necessary function, and is to be valued by the other members.  We need each other.

Here is what it would look like at my work.  One of my sergeants could say, “Well, I am not an officer.  Officers are really important.  What I do doesn’t matter.”  One of the male employees could say, “Why do we have females on our team?  They are different.  We don’t need them.”  These are not helpful.

What would it look like at your place of employment?  Do your custodians or administrative assistants feel like valued members of your organization?  Are there leaders at or near the top of the chain who do not recognize or value the contributions that everyone on the team brings?  You can change that!

About the author:

Robin_McMurry_Photography_Fort_Leonard_Wood__Missouri_Professional_Imaging_Russ_Gerlein-7161-Edit-Edit

Russell E. Gehrlein (Master Sergeant, U.S. Army, Retired) is a Christian, husband of 40 years, father of three, grandfather of five, and author of Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work, published by WestBow Press in February 2018. He is an ordinary man who is passionate about helping ordinary people experience God’s presence and integrate their Christian faith at work. Russ received a B.S. in Mathematics from Colorado State University in 1980 and an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 2015. He is a former junior/senior high school math and science teacher and youth minister. He served 20 years on active duty and now works as a Department of the Army civilian at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He has written 170 articles on faith and work topics on this blog since 2015. Eighty of these articles have been published over 150 times on several Christian organization’s websites, including: the Center for Faith & Work at LeTourneau University, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, Coram Deo, Nashville Institute for Faith + Work, Made to Flourish, 4Word Women, and The Gospel Coalition.

How does the Theology of Work Help our Veterans with Their Greatest Challenges?

(Note this article was written for and published on The Institute for Faith, Work & Economics blog.  It was also reposted on my good friend Pastor Bill Herried’s blog.)

On this federal holiday set aside to honor those who have served in our armed forces, it seems appropriate to spend a few moments focusing on some biblical principles that are foundational to a Christian worldview on vocation that may help them out with some of their greatest challenges.

For those who are serving now

I served on active duty for just over 20 years.  Probably the biggest challenge that my fellow service members and I had to deal with is in trusting God in new assignments.  Here was my experience.  After about one year at my first duty station, I showed up one day and was told I was on orders to report to the Republic of Korea for a one-year unaccompanied tour (without my family).

As a Christian, there were a few things I had to keep in mind as I prepared for this transfer.

A Christian in the military needs to understand the sovereignty of God, that He is in always in control.  He is an all-powerful, all-knowing, loving, and faithful God.  If your next assignment is in the hands of someone in Fort Knox, Kentucky, you must know that God has you in His bigger hands.  He knows where you need to go, what you need to do, who you need to serve with, and when is the right time that He needs you and your family to be there to fulfill His purposes. 

(I invite you to read an article I wrote a while back that was posted on the IFWE blog here.)

My story would be of little value to Christians in the military if not supported by Scripture.  How can you know that you can trust God in every new assignment throughout your career and beyond? 

Joseph found himself in places that he did not plan to go.  However, God had it planned all along.  In Gen. 45:7–8, Joseph concludes that despite what his brothers did to him, it is not man who causes things to happen to us but God.  Later, we read in Isaiah that “we are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isa. 64:8).  God sovereignly works in the circumstances and hearts of His people to prepare them to do His work and to mold them as He desires to fulfill His purposes. 

A second major challenge that our military personnel have to deal with is learning how to submit to their unit leadership, especially when they are uncaring, incompetent, or less than trustworthy. 

I asked two captains that work for me how they did that as Christ-followers.  One of them said that by serving under a bad leader, he learned what not to do.  He stated that his faith in Jesus reminded him that there was something greater down the road, and that God would work it out for His good (Rom. 8:28).  The other officer told me that she tried hard to focus on doing everything as unto the Lord and not for men (Col. 3:23- 24), and that she was glad to be able to be light in a dark place.

The third major challenge that our U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines face is how to find meaning and purpose in their day-to-day job.  That was something that I struggled with as well.

For my first two years as a nuclear, biological, chemical operations specialist, I felt a lot of guilt.  I had felt called to serve God in vocational ministry when I was in college.  I had done all I could do to pursue ministry as a profession, but because my financial circumstances impeded my progress, that door was closed.  I had to find a secular job.  I truly felt that I was a second-class Christian.

Then in 1989, while serving my first of two unaccompanied tours in Korea, I read a life-changing book entitled Your Work Matters to God by Doug Sherman and William Hendricks.  They tore apart the myth of sacred versus secular, and they clearly explained to me the intrinsic and instrumental value of everyday work.  I began to see how God could use me to glorify Him wherever I worked.

For those who have served in the past

Those who have served honorably and are beginning to transition to the civilian sector or have already done so have some unique challenges in finding employment in the outside world.  I see two major struggles with those who have spent most of their adult life serving in the military. There is a third challenge I would like to address at the end, regarding their contributions towards peace.

First, it may be difficult for some veterans of our armed forces to see how God could use their military experience in their next career.  Some military occupational specialties, especially those that fall under the category of combat arms: infantry, armor, field artillery, etc., do not necessarily have a similar civilian position that they can seamlessly transition into.  However, I want to remind them that many of the skills, attitudes, values, and experiences that God graciously provided them throughout their military career are easily transferable, and would make them an asset to any employer: intangible things such as discipline, resilience, loyalty, respect, and selfless service.

A second challenge our veterans face is that when they do find a job, they may need to adapt to a radically different work type of work environment.  Some aspects of serving in the military are not found in the civilian sector.  They may stand out among their peers, which may or may not be appreciated.  There may not be the same sense of purpose that comes with accomplishing a mission.  My word of encouragement to them is that perhaps they are there to improve the organization.  God may have placed them in for such a time as this.  He can work through them to make a difference.

I know that those who served during our nation’s conflicts often struggle to acknowledge their role in maintaining peace.  They may not always understand or see the total impact that the work they did as they served actually participated in God’s work to bring peace (or shalom) into this world. 

For our older veterans (I am in that category myself), I have a word.  I want you to remember that God used each and every one of you, as His coworker, no matter what branch you were a member of, where you were assigned, or what your military occupational specialty was, that He was present with you whether you realized it or not.  As a result, your work made a real difference for all of us.

I trust that these words from a fellow veteran will encourage my brothers and sisters in arms to remember that God is with them.  He will provide; He will lead; He has good plans for His own.

About the author:

Robin_McMurry_Photography_Fort_Leonard_Wood__Missouri_Professional_Imaging_Russ_Gerlein-7161-Edit-Edit

Russell E. Gehrlein (Master Sergeant, U.S. Army, Retired) is a Christian, husband of 40 years, father of three, grandfather of five, and author of Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work, published by WestBow Press in February 2018. He is an ordinary man who is passionate about helping ordinary people experience God’s presence and integrate their Christian faith at work. Russ received a B.S. in Mathematics from Colorado State University in 1980 and an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 2015. He is a former junior/senior high school math and science teacher and youth minister. He served 20 years on active duty and now works as a Department of the Army civilian at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He has written 160 articles on faith and work topics on this blog since 2015. More than 70 articles have been posted or published 150 times on several Christian organization’s websites, including: the Center for Faith & Work at LeTourneau University, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, Coram Deo, Nashville Institute for Faith + Work, Made to Flourish, 4Word Women, Acton Institute, and The Gospel Coalition.

What Does the Book of Exodus Teach us About Work?

(Note: This article was posted in the Coram Deo blog and The Institute for Faith, Work & Economics blog.)

Exodus, like several other books in the Bible that I have discussed in previous articles, is full of references that help to form foundational principles of our theology of work. It contains some great illustrations that show the connection between God’s presence and human work which I have discussed in my book, Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession. Let me share some excerpts here to paint a picture of what you will find as you explore this essential OT narrative.

God as a worker

The first thing I observed in this book is that God is a worker, which gives work intrinsic value.

Let us start with God the Father. In Exodus 15:11, we see that there is no one like God, who works wonders for His people. Later in Exodus 34:10, we read that Yahweh expresses his covenant love and faithfulness to Israel. He will do awesome work for them. And He does.

God’s presence and human work

There are multiple references to what I call “Immanuel labor”, a biblical connection between God’s presence and human work.  There are two huge illustrations of this concept:

  • Moses—He asked God, “Who am I that I should go?” God replied, “I will be with you.” God’s presence was more important than Moses’s qualifications (Exodus 3:10-12).
  • Tabernacle—The detailed construction of the tabernacle would require a variety of skilled craftsmen. Their work would enable the priests to serve as Yahweh required so that He would dwell among them (Exodus 25:8–31:11).

Exodus 32:7 is a thought-provoking verse that neatly links the two basic ideas that God is present in our work and human beings are coworkers with God. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt.’” (Emphasis mine.) I find what God said somewhat humorous. Clearly, they were not Moses’s people; they were God’s people whom He delivered from Egypt. And yet, because God said it, both perspectives were true.

The Israelites did belong to Yahweh. They also belonged to Moses. The Lord did indeed deliver them, but He used Moses to accomplish it. This indicates that God saw Moses as His coworker. God’s presence with Moses at the burning bush, on Mount Sinai, and through the desert as He led the people day and night enabled Moses to take responsibility for the mission and play a critical role in their deliverance.

Next, I would like to highlight the ordinary men and women God called and equipped to build His tabernacle in the book of Exodus. This is one of the greatest illustrations that link human work to God’s presence. Gene Veith in his book, God at Work insightfully declares that this key OT narrative is “the first explicit treatment of the doctrine of vocation in the Bible.” 

Exodus 25:8–31:11 lays out Yahweh’s detailed instructions to Moses regarding the design and construction of the tabernacle, its components, and the priests’ attire. It tells us a great deal about a theology of work. Building this portable temple would require a variety of skilled craftsmen who were empowered by the very Spirit of God. The results of their work would enable the priests to serve as Yahweh required so that He would dwell among them. (I invite you to read more about this fascinating story in an article that I wrote concerning these Spirit-filled construction workers.)

At the end of this narrative, this collection of supermen and superwomen completed the project as described by Exodus 39:32-42. The Israelites would experience many blessings as a result of their Spirit-filled efforts as coworkers with Yahweh. The last chapter of the book of Exodus tells us that after the tabernacle was completely set up and operational, “the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34). God’s presence was directly linked to their work.

Thorns and thistles

Exodus gives us a wealth of illustrations of how work was impacted by sin. The book also shows how God was present with His chosen people while they were struggling in the workplace.

In Exodus 1:11-14, we see that the Egyptians treated the Israelites poorly as their slaves, making their lives miserable with forced labor. And yet in spite of their suffering, God continued to bless them, and they multiplied because of His covenant faithfulness. God was very much present with His chosen ones. “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians” (Exodus 3:7-8).

Later on, in Exodus 5:4-19, we read that the Israelites’ desire to hold a festival for Yahweh resulted in much more stressful conditions and unreasonable deadlines. The slave drivers and foremen in charge changed their work environment as a punishment, which meant they had to work harder. They were forced to gather their own straw instead of having it brought to them, but they had to make the same amount of bricks. Eventually, God delivered them from slavery.

The arts from a biblical worldview

In Exodus 25–31, Yahweh lays out detailed plans for His tabernacle, a portable sanctuary where He would “dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). The specifications for the tabernacle, its furnishings, decorations, and attire for the priests included all kinds of artistic materials, including precious metals and stones, colored yarns, fine linen, goat hair, ram skins, hides from sea cows, and wood. This communal art and construction project required a host of skilled and Spirit-filled men and women, which I discussed in chapter 7. It illustrates the power and purpose of excellent expressions of creative artwork that enhanced the Israelites’ ability to experience God’s presence.

I trust that this collection of passages from the OT book of Exodus was as inspiring to you as it was to me as I was beginning to understand these basic biblical principles about faith and work.

About the author:

Robin_McMurry_Photography_Fort_Leonard_Wood__Missouri_Professional_Imaging_Russ_Gerlein-7161-Edit-Edit

Russell E. Gehrlein (Master Sergeant, U.S. Army, Retired) is a Christian, husband of 40 years, father of three, grandfather of five, and author of Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work, published by WestBow Press in February 2018. He is an ordinary man who is passionate about helping ordinary people experience God’s presence and integrate their Christian faith at work. Russ received a B.S. in Mathematics from Colorado State University in 1980 and an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 2015. He is a former junior/senior high school math and science teacher and youth minister. He served 20 years on active duty and now works as a Department of the Army civilian at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He has written 160 articles on faith and work topics on this blog since 2015. More than 70 articles have been posted or published 150 times on several Christian organization’s websites, including: the Center for Faith & Work at LeTourneau University, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, Coram Deo, Nashville Institute for Faith + Work, Made to Flourish, 4Word Women, Acton Institute, and The Gospel Coalition.