I was talking to a family member about why that person had never pursued a particular hobby for which there had been ample talent worth developing, and early efforts had already demonstrated impressive skill.
When it came down to bottom-line reasons, there were three: primarily, even though it was an enjoyable pastime, there was no foreseeable financial gain from developing skill in the hobby. Secondly, the investment of time to hone, perfect, and move from “hobby” to craftsmanship required a time commitment that was often inconvenient or at the expense of accomplishing other more tangible goals. Lastly, the statement that stayed with me and made the strongest impact, were the words, “There’s just no future in it.”
This rock-hard statement made me think and wonder…what, exactly, determines “a future”? Not in the sense of time passing…but in the sense of accomplishment, of hope and encouragement and joy, of motivation to continue, of even creating a certain pleasure in acknowledging and expressing that which you were meant to be.
Not surprisingly, I have a few opinions.
It does not come by dreaming without a sense of being loved by God. It does not come by having a vision or perception of “what life could look like” uninspired by a sense of being loved by God; and it does not come by mental weighing and calculation, alone.
That may not seem profound….yet in some sense, as a nation, as a culture, and as individuals, we seem to have greatly reduced or eliminated the value of being “dreamers.” Time in which “doing nothing” is no longer viewed as the actual start of doing something…maybe even something wonderful…
Although there is still appreciation for activities such as sitting and watching the clouds form fanciful shapes, it seems to have been categorized as “spare time,” and not viewed as necessary-to-open-yourself-
But it seems like the less time we spend looking at the stars, watching clouds, climbing mountains, sitting next to a stream or lake and letting the unheard wisdom of God penetrate us, comfort us, His Goodness surround us, the more susceptible we are to having our entire lives prioritized and given value apart from the skills, gifting, unique callings and creativity bestowed and instilled in each of us by our loving Father.
Romans 1:20 records Paul stating, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made…” (NASB)
And, since we are made in His image, some of His invisible attributes have become a part of our DNA – such as creativity. Cutting ourselves off from these intrinsic, built-in giftings is, in my opinion, both a shortchanging of the satisfaction God designed us to experience while on this earth, and a shortchanging of others by the dimming the reflection of God’s creativity, diversity, delight and joy as we stifle that which is deposited within. I don’t believe God only expresses Himself only in the great-and-awe-inspiring, but also in the fanciful and humble.
When Jesus compared “Solomon in all his glory” to the “lilies of the field” in Matthew 6, there was a lesson. It’s often overlooked because Jesus is actually teaching about worry and anxiety when He makes the comparison. But “Solomon in all his glory” involved finely-crafted fabrics, metals, jewels and other man-made trappings. External. Worldly, meant to impress the worldly-minded. Yet Jesus – Emmanuel, God with us – states that the glory of Solomon “(is not) clothed like one of these.” (Matt.6:29, NASB)
That strikes me as high esteem, indeed, for one “alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace.”
God clearly delights in lilies. He delights in what He created, in the creative expression that a lily represents. He delights in the essence of creativity expressed through painters, musicians, wood-carvers, pottery-throwers, sand painters, stick whittlers, ice carvers, writers, poets, singers, builders, dancers, weavers, glass-blowers, composers, inventors, and an infinite variety of other expressions of creativity, for just as “the creation of the world” reveals His invisible attributes, so infinite expressions of creativity reveal and express infinite expressions of Him, as well.
Is every creative expression a model of godliness or His Goodness? No. Does every creative person use his gifting to exalt and glorify a loving, indwelling God? No. Does an ultimate artistic product that, in fact, defames, denounces, corrupts or despises the image of God reveal that the Giver of the gift is worthy of being defamed, denounced, corrupted or despised? No.
And it could rightly be said of those who use the free gifting of God to profane and vilify the Good Giver….well….there’s just no future in it……