BEZALEL and Oholiab were no strangers to construction. As slaves in Egypt, they had likely made more bricks than they cared to remember. But those years were behind them. Now they would become artisans of the highest order when they were assigned to take the lead in the construction of the tabernacle. (Ex. 31:1-11) Even so, few would ever see some of the stunning works they produced. Would the lack of recognition frustrate them? Did it really matter who noticed their work? Does it matter who notices yours?
EXQUISITE WORKS SEEN ONLY BY A FEW
Some of the tabernacle furnishings were veritable masterpieces. Consider, for example, the golden cherubs that were atop the ark of the covenant. The apostle Paul described them as “glorious.” (Heb. 9:5) Imagine the awesome beauty of those figures made of hammered gold!—Ex. 37:7-9.
If found today, the items that Bezalel and Oholiab made would be worthy of display in the finest museums, where they could be appreciated by the masses. But at the time they were fashioned, how many really saw their splendor? The cherubs were located in the Most Holy; thus, they would be seen only by the high priest when he entered just once a year, on Atonement Day. (Heb. 9:6, 7) Consequently, very few humans ever saw them.
FINDING CONTENTMENT WITHOUT POPULAR ACCLAIM
If you had been Bezalel or Oholiab and had toiled to produce such fabulous works of art, how would you have felt knowing that so few saw them? Today, people feel a sense of accomplishment when they receive praise and admiration from their peers. It is a barometer to measure the worthiness of their labors. But Jehovah’s servants are different. Like Bezalel and Oholiab, we find contentment in doing Jehovah’s will and having his approval.
In Jesus’ day, it was common for religious leaders to offer prayers that would impress others. However, Jesus recommended another approach: Pray sincerely and without any desire to be praised by onlookers. The result? “Your Father who looks on in secret will repay you.” (Matt. 6:5, 6) Clearly, the important thing is, not what others think about our prayers, but what Jehovah thinks. His opinion makes our prayers truly valuable. The same is true of anything that we accomplish in our sacred service. It is not validated by popular acclaim; rather, it pleases Jehovah, “who looks on in secret.”
When the tabernacle was completed, a cloud “began to cover the tent of meeting, and Jehovah’s glory filled the tabernacle.” (Ex. 40:34) What a clear indication of Jehovah’s approval! How do you think Bezalel and Oholiab felt at that moment? Although their names were not engraved on their handiwork, they must have felt satisfaction in knowing that God’s blessing was on all their efforts. (Prov. 10:22) In the years that followed, it surely warmed their hearts to see that their handiwork continued to be used in Jehovah’s service. When they come back to life in the new world, Bezalel and Oholiab will no doubt be thrilled to learn that the tabernacle was used in true worship for some 500 years!
In Jehovah’s organization today, the animators, artists, musicians, photographers, translators, and writers all work anonymously. In that sense, no one “sees” what they do. The same could be said of much of the work being done in the more than 110,000 congregations worldwide. Who sees the accounts servant fill out needed paperwork at the end of the month? Who looks on when the secretary prepares the congregation field service report? Who observes the brother or sister who makes a necessary repair at the Kingdom Hall?
At the end of their life, Bezalel and Oholiab had no trophies, medals, or plaques to show for their brilliant designs and quality construction. But they had obtained something far more valuable—Jehovah’s approval. We can be sure that Jehovah noticed their work. May we imitate their example of humble and willing service.