Refrigerator Art

NOTE: The following is an excerpt from a message on “Creativity” I preached recently at Oak Hills Church in Folsom, California. To hear the full message, please hit the link to listen to the audio for July 24, 2016.

“…We are made in the image of God. And this is more profound than we know.

“We are made with intellects, with the amazing capacity to understand and ponder and offer explanations about the world around us. We have sentience, the awareness of our own being and a consciousness of the universe. We can philosophize, moralize, theorize, and know good and evil.We have the physical ability to build machines, create cities, form entire civilizations, and then destroy them. And we are made not just as physical beings, but as spiritual beings as well. We are made with a capacity to love as He loved. To have free will, as He has free will. To choose the course of our own lives. And also, to create as He creates. To express ourselves in artistic and imaginative ways. In all of these ways, we are made in the image of God. In short, we are creative because God is creative. We are artists because He is the Master Artist.

“Human creativity is part of what theologians call “the cultural mandate,” which is in essence our job description here on earth (Genesis 1:28):  to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.” This cultural mandate includes the blessing to prosper and procreate, to be responsible for the care and stewarding the earth, and also to create and build and express ourselves in the created universe. In a sense, our need to create is imbedded into us, as we were made in His image, and then mandated to us as a part of our purpose here on earth. Think about that. We couldn’t have survived at all in the wilderness had it not been for our ability to be creative, our ability to out-think nature.

“One other thing. God placed deep within each of us a mysterious aesthetic, some aspect born into us that is moved by the sight of beauty through creation and the arts. It’s like God placed a compass inside of us that always points true north. And so we not only are drawn to beauty, and driven to create beauty, but also to derive pleasure from beauty as well.

“Thus, all of us are endowed with the ability and the desire to create, and the ability to derive pleasure from the creation, as well as the feeling of accomplishment that comes when it is created. We create because we are made in the image of the Creator. We simply cannot help it.

“This is why Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel. This is why Homer told his stories. This is why Shakespeare penned his dramas. This is why David played the ten-string lyre. This is why children draw and play-act and imagine.

“And that is who we are: artists. So we grasp at sunsets and attempt to paint them. We hear the sound of the ocean and compose sonnets in its honor. We see the autumn swans dance, and we dance.

“And you need to know one other thing about us. We are also His children, His beloved.

Justin Elephant“Think about this. How many of you, at one time in your life, took one of your children’s crayon drawings and hung it on your refrigerator door? Why did you do that? Because the art was really good? Maybe, but probably you hung it because you loved your child. And that artwork represents a part of who your child is. That creation was an expression of someone you love.

“I want to show you one of my absolute favorite pieces of artwork. It was done by my son, Justin, when he was five or so. Justin loved elephants when he was a little kid, even had a favorite stuffed elephant. So he drew this for me. In a sense, this was an expression of something he loved, and because of that, this is one of my favorite drawings in the whole world.

“Now, here’s where it gets really sentimental. Because Justin—and his lovely wife Riley—are expecting their first child, which will be our first grandchild, in December. Justin will soon get to experience what I experienced through him. Oh man. I can’t wait to see this little one begin to draw little figures like this for his Dad and His Mom, and watch them put it on their refrigerator door.

“Well, this is how God feels about us. About the things we create. Especially about the things we create for Him. Every song, every word, every dance, every painting, done for the King delights the King. He takes who we are, and the expressions of who we are, and He delights in it. Expressions of our life in the Kingdom not only bear witness to God, they directly put a smile on God’s face. He delights in the creations of His children. We all are, in a real sense, God’s creations, God’s art. And He takes what we offer Him, and He hangs it on the door of His heart.”

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