The Thing We’ve Forgotten – and It’s Killing Us

pencils-157972_640Confused. We’ve confused the calling on our lives and it’s killing us.

You would think, if you spend any time on social media or Christian media in general, that there is a gospel command for every Christian to:

try to get as famous as we absolutely can,

have an opinion about every topic discussed in the marketplace,

ultimately make contact with hundreds of thousands of people with the gospel

and that anything less than this is a secondary calling. So that the believing singer who wins a showcase on American Idol is greater than the woman who faithfully sings alto for the choir in a small country church for forty years.

And the guitarist who gets a recording contract when his Youtube video goes viral for Jesus is somehow more pleasing to God than the youth leader who moves a handful of teens around a campfire on Friday nights with the songs he writes at the end of a long day toiling at his sales job.

Or the bestselling author has realized God’s true potential for his gift with words while the storytelling mother who writes skits for her puppet troupe to teach children in Sunday school and Vacation Bible school has somehow fallen short.

And yet, does God not see us all? Are we not all visible on His cosmic Internet? Can He not tune in and smile at the girl singing to soothe the residents of a nursing home as easily as the lead singer of Switchfoot?

Does He not revel in the bright quilts designed by humble hands to give to cancer patients or little dresses sewn to send to Haitian children as easily as He celebrates the Christian artist with an exhibition in a New York art show?

This twisted thinking – this notion that if we cannot become famous for it or make money with it or reach a million people by it that what we create is a waste of time. This backward notion is the root of many of our physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual ills.

We were created in God’s image and He is a Creator not a consumer.

rosesHe revels in the work of His hands. His music, art, craftsmanship, and storytelling are evident throughout creation whether in places inhabited by millions or in remote locations observed by no one but Him. He is detailed, excellent, beautiful, and extravagant with His designs, compositions, and textures in everything from longstanding mountain vistas to momentary sunsets or cloud formations.

He is whimsical and awesome with the design of great forests as well as the details on the backs of millipedes that lurk beneath rocks and soil.

He is often artistic and glorious for no reason at all and we are made in His image.

Each of us has within us the creative spark and if we employ that creativity, even in small, stumbling, humble ways, our lives are enriched and so is the piece of the world right where we are – even if only God witnesses our efforts.

We should be making music, writing stories, working with wood, cloth, paint, or flowers, dancing, or weaving, sculpting with metal or with stone, singing or signing to God’s glory throughout our lives. We knew this once but this knowledge has somehow faded from our understanding.

If we created more and consumed less, we would be a healthier people and each of us would experience the joy of working on a project with our Father, feeling His hand guide our own, knowing the smile of His approval at our efforts even when we hit a sour note or mar the canvas with a mistaken brush stroke.

In those moments, we would feel His amazing patience with us and with our learning and I believe that knowledge would spill over into other parts of our spiritual lives.

Each of us has the opportunity to learn at the feet of a Master in every craft and the end is nothing compared to the joy of that process. Paul, who traveled and taught but who also wrote and fashioned tents with his hands penned these verses:

“But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” I Thessalonians 4:10-12

God Himself blessed the creative arts from our earliest efforts at building a civilization that pleases Him. We are hard-wired to create – everything from poetry and cakes to stonewalls and sidewalk art because we take after our Father. Find something to do with your hands, play with the possibilities, be a child again in your Father’s workshop, encourage the same in others and see if your spirit isn’t fed and nurtured and healed.

See if the world isn’t a better place! See if others don’t get a glimpse of kingdom come through you.

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6 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Wow, Lori, this is powerful! Thank you for speaking truth!

  2. Terry & Patricia Lampel says:

    Well said Lori… needed to be said–Thanks!

  3. Lisa Evola says:

    I once had someone ask me what I do for fun. I pondered that for a minute and shared a list of “fun things” that to many look like work. They looked at me seriously then and said – well, what do you do to unwind? I repeated the list. To me, life is work, and work is life. Everything I do I enjoy, right down to the handmade gifts. I can’t seem to do it any other way, and honestly – I wouldn’t want to. Thank you for the reminder that it is even in the little things that go unrecognized by anyone but God, that we can find our greatest joy!

  4. Lyneta Smith says:

    I needed to hear this! Thank you for sharing these truths.

  5. Wow. Just plain WOW. The trumpet story caught my gut. Thank you for that. 🙂

  6. Kim Wilbanks says:

    Another great post. Thank you! I needed this one too! As a creative person, I sometimes feel guilty for wanting to do the creative thing as opposed to the practical thing.