No one doubts Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5 or Les Misérables or The Lord of the Rings are deserving of creative masterpiece status. But creativity and masterpieces come sometimes in unexpected forms. Often people say, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body,” but most likely these folks are not seeing the giftedness in their lives and lack a vision for how they can use their gifts and abilities.
If you are a skilled painter, writer, or musician . . . wonderful! You need to steward those abilities from God until they shine, always keeping in mind they are gifts. But outside the official world of the arts, creative thinking is alive and well and appears in many forms. Engineers may not be hammering away at their most recent novel, but they go to work daily to solve high-tech problems in the realms of security, travel, communications, business, and more. The same can be said for the scientists, mathematicians, and anyone thinking creatively outside the box.
The very idea of “creating” means to make something that didn’t exist before just as God once made humans out of dust. And it means to mold already-created resources into something fresh. Daily we are surrounded by people who feel like nothing, yet unknowingly wear the amazing title of God’s most valued masterpiece: you, your loved ones, coworkers, enemies, the folks inside a prison, the one standing at a street corner holding a sign saying, “Anything helps. God bless you,” or the one spraying graffiti on buildings. Some people may look more like rough drafts than finished products, but God wants to chisel away at us all, smoothing down sharp edges and bulky surfaces, aiming for that precious finished product underneath. How would the most lost and broken among us feel if they knew, really knew, what lay beneath their surfaces? The good news is, we are invited to befriend and support these wounded souls so they move closer to realizing their masterpiece status in Christ.
When we invest in broken lives through our time, prayers, wisdom, and counsel, what joy Jesus must experience as the dirt and detritus from shattered lives vanishes to unveil something unimaginably new. We share in that joy as we accept His invitation to cooperate in His work and cast a vision for people. Maybe we can’t all write a symphony, pen a novel, or paint a stunning landscape, but we can all dial the phone number of a hurting and lonely person, speak to a stranger, or share our resources. In doing so, we are given the privilege of investing in human works of art.
In Francine Rivers’s newest novel, The Masterpiece, we meet two broken people who have experienced deep trauma in their past, leaving them disengaged and withdrawn from healthy relationships. Drowning in shame, they hide their histories from each other. Artist Roman Velasco draws one practice sketch after another, aiming for the finished vision in his head but in the end tossing them in the garbage, unable to reach his imagined work.
Often a troubled background leaves people believing they deserve the same outcome. But no matter how rough the appearance, no human being is a practice sketch to be thrown in the trash. And here’s where we all come in: next time you claim you don’t have a creative bone in your body, take a look around your town and neighborhood and ask how you can put your hands on an in-progress masterpiece. We can image God by encouraging wholeness where only fragments existed before, offering a way where previously there was no way.
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