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

pencils-157972_640You 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,
to have an opinion about every topic discussed in the marketplace,
to 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.
And 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?
I think 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.
He 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 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
And God Himself blessed the creative arts from our earliest efforts at building a civilization that pleases Him:
The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship,  to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze,  in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you” Exodus 31:1-6
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
and see if the world isn’t a better place!

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16 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Beautiful post that hits home with me right at this very moment. Thank you.

  2. Pam Manners says:

    Tracy Ruckman just took the words right out of my mouth…but that’s okay. <3

    Absolutely love this, Lori. I do. Thank you!!

  3. Ginny Jaques says:

    So true. Our value system is so upside-down to His. This was good for me today.

  4. This is a beautiful post and so encouraging, Lori. Just think, Jesus crafted furniture as a carpenter too!
    Megan

  5. Betty Jo says:

    WOW! What an incredible post, and reminder, Lori. You should write a book about creativity. Your posts always inspire me, but especially when you write about creativity. I always read those particular posts, and think to myself “Oh yeah! It’s okay to be creative with my pens, paint, and camera; my Father created me to be!”

  6. Anonymous says:

    That passage in Exodus is one of my favorites. Has been for years and years and years, and it’s right up there with the verses in Genesis 4 (20-22) that speak of one man being the first to raise livestock, another whose descendants played musical instruments, another who forged bronze and iron tools.

    We all have gifts and talents, and we come by them naturally. Even if we don’t know our families, or were never encouraged to explore who we are or what we have an aptitude for, those things will not for long remain hidden.

  7. Having been treading in these same waters latley. Approaching creativity from some different angles. Not sure I’m making beauty (my rectangular crochet pieces keep curving like Christmas tree skirts!) but loving the stretch to Express that desire to crate.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Every Tuesday night our local firefighters train. So I bake cookies, cupcakes, or sweet breads for them. I never thought of it as being creative until I read your post. I’ve been doing this for three years now and I’m the one blessed for doing it. Thanks for helping me see that. MOMMA

  9. The BearPair says:

    Great truthes… great illustrations… you’re right on Lori–THANKS! As I read some social media posts, another aspect I see troublesome is the repeated focus on how “great” we are, and that it is this “greatness” that considered us worth Christ’s shedding of his blood… imho.