“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’…So God created man in his own image; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27
Consumption is a part of everyday life for the American. We are constantly assaulted with messages that tell us to consume the latest in products, technologies, and services. The economists suggest that through consumption, we better our country. Environmentalists tell us our old light bulbs just won’t do anymore, so buy the latest in green technologies. We even consume social media now, so instead of writing a letter or talking to an old friend face-to-face, we consume electricity, smartphones, and “social” websites to arguably communicate less effectively.
Surprisingly, when it comes to an area where we should consume, we replace consumption with service. Christ invites us to a restful Sabbath every Sunday, where we are to consume His Word, His very body and blood, and to hand over all burdens to Him. Instead, how many times have you replaced consumption with service and work on Sundays? I know I have on several occasions, which only leads to burnout – the total opposite of restful consumption.
But, I recently discovered that leading a life of everyday consumption results in something far more dangerous: the failure to create. As Genesis points out, God created humans, along with everything else here on earth and in the heavens. Furthermore, God made us in His own image and likeness, which means we too should be creating. Though all of our creations derive and rely on God’s creations, this should not stop us from getting our hands dirty working in the earth and with its materials.
As I purposefully left a stressful career eight months ago to pursue a life of creation, I have noticed how artistic our Lord Jesus Christ truly is. Creation is a very powerful, spiritual tool and Christ wants us to create because it brings us closer to Him. See, those of the world view art and creation as expressions of individuality and talent, advancements in the human condition. But a Christian artist realizes that art is much more than personal accomplishment. A Christian creator recognizes that what starts out as an idea in one’s imagination soon takes on a life of itself, where words convey much deeper ideas than the author realizes and paint strokes end up creating a dynamic piece of life instead of remaining merely paint on a canvas.
Furthermore, I view creation as a window into the infinite world of God’s omnificence, omniscience, and omnipresence. When I see something that strikes me as beautiful or meaningful in God’s physical creation and it causes a light bulb to go off in my brain, I’m pushed to grab this small idea floating in the invisible air and to make it into something physical. However, as I perform this minute act of creation, Christ starts revealing deeper connections and intersections between the artist, participants with the art, and Christ Himself. More importantly, the artist is immersed into the love of Christ and reminded of the true control that Christ has over His own creation, which any worthwhile artist would have to admit lacking the complete picture of a creative idea at any given time. By being reminded of Christ’s complete control, the artist can faithfully move forward with the creative work and experience the honor of being an instrument for God.
So, I encourage you to create something this week. And even though our mere attempts will always be dancing cave shadows of Christ’s true creations, I promise you will experience a greater connection with the one true creator!
James Greening is the Parish Secretary for Trinity Lutheran Church and a wannabe poet, artist, musician, and anything else that sounds interesting. He is made a better man by his wife, Kacey, and together they are always on the hunt for a new adventure in life.