This coming week I’ll be attending a workshop on Chinese painting and watercolor, and I’m looking forward to a great week of creativity, art, and learning. I know that God has given me a love for art, whether quick sketching, careful and detailed drawing, or watercolor painting, and I greatly appreciate any opportunity to increase my skills by learning from a master.
I often find that it is through art that I most naturally connect with God. A few years ago when I was experiencing a long, spiritually dry spell, God seemed far away, if there at all, and I had little inclination to pray, and there was no passion in it. I spoke with a wise friend, whose first, seemingly irrelevant, question was, “How’s your art these days?” When I replied that I had been too busy to do any, she said that God had made me to be an artist and that sketching or painting was an important part of worship for me. If I neglected that, my spiritual life would suffer. That afternoon I set aside all my “important” tasks for the day, pulled out my long-neglected sketchbook, and started sketching birds and trees, soon becoming fully absorbed in what I was observing. And then in a little while, I found myself praying– for others, for myself, and just in wordless connection with God.
This week, since I’ll be focusing on my art so intently, I want to ponder a variety of Bible verses that speak of God’s gift of creative ability, of connecting with him through the abilities he gives us, and of how I can use the abilities he’s given me to do good and honor him.
Monday: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
This is one of my favorite verses. I know how much I enjoy doing a careful drawing or painting and how special it is to me, so I am awed at the thought of God making me as his handiwork. Let’s let our imaginations run with the picture of God carefully crafting each of us, like a master artist or craftsman making a special creation.
Tuesday: God created each of us, as his handiwork, to do good works. What kind of work has he made you to do? What kind of work delights you and feels meaningful? Ask God to show you what he has made you to do, what special works he has prepared you for and for you to do.
Wednesday: ‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel… and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.‘ Exodus 31:1-5
Is there any kind of creative work that you do or would love to do? Writing? Computer programming? Gardening? Cooking? Working with animals? Solving problems? Too often we minimize the value of our skills or passions. Ponder the thought that God may have given you your interests in order to accomplish his work on earth.
Thursday: Ask God to give you wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, as well as creative skill, so that all your work can be done in a way that honors him and does good.
Friday: Ask God to help you connect with him more and get to know him better through doing whatever work he has given you a passion for. See if you can use some of that time to talk with him about your needs and desires, and your concerns for yourself and others.
Saturday: How can you approach your work, whether a hobby or a responsibility, as a way of partnering with God to accomplish his work on earth? Let’s meditate on this today, especially as we engage in the work we do or think about what we long to do.