We’ve been discussing creativity these past few weeks and in that context I’ve been thinking about Jesus. Jesus was a creative man. If we attribute Jesus' creativity to His divinity, we can't gain much help or understanding that will assist us in our own creative search. If we see, however, that Jesus was a creative man then there may be things in His life to help us be more creative. You probably know what I think about this issue, but to make sure you do, you had better read on.
A TEACHING CARPENTER
We know that He was a carpenter, so He made things from wood with His hands. One second-century bishop reported that wooden yokes that Jesus made in the first century were still being used 100 years later! That tells us that Jesus wasn’t only creative, He was committed to excellence—He did good work.
There’s also a good chance that Jesus, as the oldest son, ran a carpentry business that supported more than just Himself. His brothers could have been in business with Him and that meant He also expressed His creativity by running a business, making payroll and managing inventory, accounts and customer service. He also would have supported His widowed mother from the business as well.
But Jesus’ creativity didn’t stop there. At the age of 30, He changed careers, starting an itinerate ministry through which He continued to express tremendous creativity. He was creative in building and equipping an effective team of men and women who traveled with Him.
When Jesus performed miracles, He did so with flair and distinction. One time He spit on the ground, made mud and smeared it on a blind man’s eyes. Another time, Jesus put His fingers into a deaf man’s ears and touched the end of the man’s tongue with His spit. Jesus answered His critics with creative retorts that delighted the crowds. His insight into Scripture held people’s attention for days on end as He impressed the crowd with His fresh approach to God and the Word.
Perhaps Jesus’ greatest creative expression, however, was in His teaching. When He taught, He used parables—stories from everyday life that imparted truth. Where did He get those stories? He made up those stories. They came from His creativity, perhaps the same creativity that He learned and perfected as a carpenter. Jesus used parables with lessons drawn from agriculture, business, current events, family life, and gardening. He was such a creative teacher that the people would walk for days to listen to Him for days - and then have to walk home for days after it was all done. Mark reported: “The large crowd listened to him with delight” (Mark 12:37).
THE IMPLICATIONS FOR YOU
Why is this important? First of all, I don’t think that Jesus’ creativity came from His divinity only. He was and is the Creator God and creative Man. On earth He expressed His creativity as a Jewish man who observed life and saw God in all of it. Secondly, if Jesus the man was creative, then He can help you be creative. And finally, you will fulfill your purpose as you carry on the creative tradition that was expressed by the Son of God and continued in the power of the Holy Spirit. You are not here to maintain; you are here to creatively advance the kingdom of God. One might argue that your creativity is how you will fulfill the mandate given to Adam and all his children to subdue the earth and rule over it.
This week, I have an assignment for you.Take some time to read Proverbs 8. Do you see wisdom speaking there? That “wisdom” certainly sounds a lot like Jesus to me. Pray through this Proverb and then ask the Lord for creative wisdom. Ask Him to help you use the ordinary lessons of daily life, just like Jesus did, to create something extraordinary. Don’t see your creativity as an exception or something that you use from time to time. See it as a powerful source of daily inspiration that will help you fulfill your purpose and do great things. As you do, I know your life will be changed as mine has been these last few years. Have a great week!
KENYA UPDATE: I have two Kenya updates this week, and I still have an urgent need. The updates will tell you about the impact our container goods are making among our friends. I am heading over to Kenya this Thursday, July 31 and I know our ministry friends there are counting on our help when we come. There are needs in the orphanages, at our library and among the widows. Will you help me put together a financial blessing to take with me? You can give through my website or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.
I still have a sense that someone out there reading this is considering a large gift to Kenya. If you are that person, I can only encourage you not to be afraid. Have faith, trust God and be obedient. I promise we will put it to good use.
STILL HAVE AN URGENT LOCAL NEED: We are in need of new warehouse space in which to store our year-round Kenya collections. Space that is climate controlled and forklift accessible is preferred. If you have any leads or space, please let me know.
NEW BOOKS: I released another new book two weeks ago, a devotional entitled A String of Pearls: Wisdom for Productive People. A few weeks ago, I released two other devotionals: A Daily Taste of Proverbs and earlier this year What Would Jesus Ask You Today? All three of these books are available in Kindle or paper version and make great gifts for individuals or study guides for small groups.
BASEBALL GAME: The annual fundraising baseball game at PNC Park to benefit Kenya widows and orphans will take place this year on Tuesday, August 19. For the mere price of $1,000, you will be treated to great food, wonderful fellowship and a great baseball game (we hope) between the Pirates and the Braves. Perhaps you can't attend but you can give so that someone can represent you that evening. Perhaps your organization can contribute and buy a ticket for someone. Contact me now to reserve your ticket(s) for the game. So far I have sold eight, so make sure you respond soon to be part of the big night.