The Second Step of Creativity: It's Not About You
In last week’s post we talked about the importance of receiving from the Lord properly. Receiving with joy starts the cycle. Giving is the other half. But to give properly, we have to understand what is and is not ours. Let’s look at another parable.
In Luke 12 Jesus tells the parable of the bridegroom and his servants. The bridegroom goes to his wedding banquet, and the servants are responsible for unlocking and opening the door when he returns.
“It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.” Luke 12:37,38
Jesus even says that the master will put the servant in charge of all his possessions. But he also warns about servants who do not watch.
“But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and then begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.” Luke 12:45, 46
Look at the zealous energy of the servants in the first part of the parable. They stay up all hours of the night, waiting for the master to return from his wedding. And the payoff is incredible. The master waits on them, and then puts them in charge of all his possessions. But what the master requires is stewardship. Stewardship is when you manage someone else’s wealth using someone else’s resources. Think of a trustworthy butler or the keeper of a noble’s estate- an employee who has a lot of authority, but uses it for the best interests of the master, not himself.
That is what God intends to give us. That has always been his plan, from Adam to the Great Commission. God wants to give increasing authority to trustworthy servants who will build and take initiative, but not for their own sake.
Alright, great. But what does this have to do with creativity?
When I got out of college, I wanted to be a famous worship leader. I wanted to travel, record and release albums, and be cool generally. Of course, in my mind, this was the Lord’s plan. He would work through my notoriety to reach the world with those great songs I had written. It seemed inevitable-until it wasn’t.
Looking back now, I had a lot of growing up to do. I wrote a lot of songs that were a mixture of my spirit hearing from God, and my soul hearing from my ambitions. Those have since been rewritten or retired. They weren’t much good anyway. What I’ve learned in those years is this:
1. Your heart, your soul, even your body is a conduit. It’s a pass-through for the good things that God wants to bring to the earth. It is not a rain barrel. It’s not meant to stay with you. My writing improved greatly when I stopped trying to write my songs. That is, when I started to focus on what God was saying, or what the people in my church were praying, or what the Bible was saying, I became a pass-through for the good things God wanted to say. I began to steward His words.
2. You don’t get to pick what gets handed out or when. You wouldn’t want to. When I got out of college I wanted a particular career in a particular way. God had no intention of following my timeline, and now I’m glad he didn’t. I have a beautiful wife and daughter and so much to be thankful for. He is good, even if He isn’t predictable.
3. If you want greater authority, get low, and make His priorities your priorities. Throughout that season of my life, God convinced me of His goodness. Then he gave me some people to serve that needed what I had. It wasn’t the platform I had in mind, but by that point I had stopped trying. Ah, I was starting to act like a steward. I was starting to be trustworthy.
If these rules sound backwards compared to the world's system, that’s because they are. Or I should say, the world’s way is backwards. Satan can only invert or pervert God’s way, and that includes His method of expanding authority.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t work. It’s just not our kingdom that we are building. But you would only work for someone else’s kingdom if you loved them, wanted the best for them, and believed that they loved you and wanted the best for you. What you think about God is the most important thing. It makes giving and receiving work. It makes creativity work. It makes life work.
“The Lord said, ‘Who then is the faithful and wise manager (steward)?’” Luke 12:42
May it be us.