I would not consider myself an artistic or creative person at all. When I play Pictionary, I often punch holes in the paper pointing at my drawings while my teammates try to decipher scribbles that would leave the world’s best cryptographers stumped. Or convinced aliens are trying to communicate with us…
During my early school years, my mother always encouraged me to show up for every choir practice. Whenever I did, the teacher would give me a ball to go and play outside and this is how I ended up playing rugby…
My daughter confirmed my lack of singing ability at a very young age. Shortly after her third birthday, I was belting out a favourite song – in my mind much better than the guy on the radio in my car. Strapped into her car seat in the back, she stopped me in my tracks by saying: ‘Stop it, Dadda! I’m eating!’ She did not have any food with her, but I got the message…
As a result, I have always admired those with the ability to create or express themselves artistically. Musicians, especially those who use their talent to create worship experiences, are my heroes. And I find it amazing that someone can take a blank canvas, a block of wood, a ball of wool, a piece of granite, an empty room or a lump of clay and create something beautiful out of virtually nothing. I think it takes a special kind of genius to be able to do something creative.
The place an artist goes to in him or herself to give expression to something beautiful is deeply spiritual. It is enhanced exponentially by intimacy with the original and ultimate Creator, and this brings me to the point I want to make here. Have you taken note recently of how absolutely amazing our Lord is in his creative genius?!?
Think of a sunrise, breathtakingly beautiful every single morning since the dawn of creation. Or think of flowers – their beauty and their variety. According to most sources, there are more than four million different kinds!
Think of the sheer size of the universe or the number of things we have not even discovered yet. Nature is filled with examples that will blow your mind again and again. His creativity is beyond comparison. One hundred percent original, showcasing pure genius every single time.
And get this! This Creative Genius is no stranger to you or some distant figure described in history books.
He is your Father, deeply committed to you and involved in every single one of your days. His Spirit fills you in a mysterious, supernatural union that creates in you a person that you could never be on your own.
I’m writing this in March 2020 in the middle of the Corona Virus Pandemic. South Africa (and many other countries) are in lockdown and thousands are fearing for their livelihoods. Many sources of income have dried up overnight and businesses are facing ruin. It is a dark and difficult time.
Industries are scrambling to adapt to a new reality and find relevance and economic viability while everything is in flux. My wife is working harder than ever before to switch to online teaching and deliver the same and higher quality to her students at a local university. She is not on holiday but under a lot of pressure. (I’m sure most people are.) It is not just about avoiding or overcoming a virus. It is about adapting to an undefined new challenge.
Christians are connecting via social media in unprecedented ways, and I follow as many as possible. I was convinced that love would find a way for the church to be church at this time, and it is a beautiful sight to behold. I’m especially drawn to those who share their prayers with the world as I am convinced that that is our strongest possible response.
In this blog, building on the picture of our God as ‘Creative Genius’, I want to propose something we can add to our prayers as we face this pandemic and even afterwards.
Near the end of the book of Exodus, Moses is building a tabernacle where God would meet with His people. This was a very important place and its beauty and splendour needed to reflect this. Moses gave a stirring speech and “all whose hearts were stirred and whose spirits were moved” (Ex 35:21) gave sacrificially. However, they needed more than gold and wood and stuff. They needed skills and artistry. They had people like that. One guy had an unpronounceable name:
The LORD has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts.Exo 35:31 NLT
We have about as many different flavours of Christian as we have different kinds of flowers. However, we all seek to be filled with His Spirit. You may understand something different than I as to what that means, but let’s add this understanding. God filling you with His Spirit gives you great wisdom, great ability and great expertise in doing your work.
I have heard it said that one of the single most important skills in the 4th Industrial Revolution is the ability to see opportunities where other people miss them and translate them into action plans.
Are you under the impression that God’s Spirit in you is merely there to give you goose-flesh during worship in church? Or that His job is done when you experience peace that surpasses understanding in a storm. Are you under the impression He is going to make money appear miraculously in your lap if your faith is strong enough or you pray hard enough? Do you think creativity can only find expression in the work of an artist?
There is so much more!!
You need to be thinking creatively and outside the box right now. And you need to show great skill and expertise in unique areas as you face the challenges of your time. I propose that you and I pray the following for ourselves and one another:
Lord, fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Help me to access that place deep inside where your Creative Genius flows. Give me great wisdom to find my purpose going forward. And help me to do new and old things with great skill and expertise. In Jesus Name!
May your great-grandchildren tell the story of this time in your life with awe and pride. May their children benefit from the solutions you find in the next two weeks. And may history reflect on the creativity of the children of God when 2020 is discussed.
For group study
- Share the highs and lows of your past week. (Go around the circle so everyone gets a turn.)
- Tell us how you, in the past, expressed yourself creatively. (Everyone gets a turn.)
- Share with us your greatest current challenge. (Only those who want to.)
- Divide into groups of two or three and pray the above prayer in your own words for everyone in your group.
Adding a journal to your intimate time with your Lord will strengthen your journey towards discovering creative solutions under the Holy Spirit’s guidance. For more on this read here.