Collaborating with God Every Day:
An Essential Part of Your Creativity and Your Faith
Collaborating with God every day is essential to life, as well as to living out your faith. We do not live in isolation from God, completely separate from us while we go about our life on Earth. God has not abandoned us or His creation. We live in a world created by God, wherein God beckons us and expects us to react, interact and rejoice in the good gifts He has given us.
From music that lifts the heart, to stories that inspire and paintings that speak to our heart. All of the arts present us with opportunities to rejoice in God’s goodness, and to respond by engaging with the world around us. How do we do this? We collaborate by integrating the raw materials of this world into our everyday lives and into the works of art we create.
Collaborating Through Music
Music offers us a glimpse of this collaborating. The human voice is the most complex instrument, expressing every emotion in any language or tongue. Early on, people accompanied their voices with instruments such as harps and lyres. These songs invited communities to sing and celebrate.
From the music in the early days of Israel, we read of Moses and Miriam singing of God’s glorious redemption after they passed through the Red Sea (Exodus 15). Such music developed as men like King David wrote countless Psalms and songs. God used David’s excellence as a musician to calm King Saul’s spirit.
“And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him.”
– 1 Sam 16:23 (ESV).
God could have relieved the troubled heart of Saul without David or his harp, but He didn’t. In God’s great wisdom, He used the gifts of a musician like David.
Collaborating Through Food
We are invited into a beautiful world that awaits our contribution. The food and drinks that come from creation are cultivated by men and women made in His Image. This creativity and collaboration began in the beginning of the Bible and will continue throughout eternity. It is not optional. Neither is it something exceptional. It is something that is common, and something we are commanded to do. We are created to find aspects of creation, to improvise with them and to create new foods, new drinks, and new fusions of delicacies from different cultures.
Collaborating and Proclaiming the Gospel
At the heart of celebrating the beauty of the gospel, we are invited to use our creativity to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Indeed, we are commanded to use our ingenuity and unique recipes to make the bread and the wine.
“22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
– Mark 14:22–25 (ESV)
Wine and bread are referenced from the beginning of the Bible. We know as early as Genesis 9, Noah drank wine. He drank too much, but it is evidence of the presence of wine. We read in Genesis 18 that Abraham made bread for guests who prophesied of Sarah becoming with child.
Bread and wine do not exist without human effort. We cultivate and tend to the raw ingredients given to us by God. But we cannot leave those raw ingredients the way we found them. God commands us and expects us to use our gifting to take those raw ingredients of creation, and to turn them into signs of hospitality, of forgiveness and of hope.
Collaboration in the Wine for Communion
Wine requires cultivating a vineyard for years. It requires many things which Christ spoke of, including dressing the vines, pruning and harvesting. Once the grapes are harvested they must be crushed, place in jars or barrels and allowed to ferment through the natural process. As we consider what it takes to make wine, I can imagine Jesus saying, “My spirit was crushed like grapes upon the wine press, as I wept in the Garden of Gethsemane, to produce new wine that brings you joy. So shall you crush grapes and drink of wine to enjoy the fruit of my sacrifice, and to celebrate new life through me.”
Collaboration in the Bread for Communion
Bread is such a basic staple of life in so many cultures. From naan bread in India, and tortillas in Latin America, to pita bread in the Middle East, and the sourdough breads found in the west. As basic as bread is, we must not miss the point that it takes human hands and cultivation. Bread does not exist without human effort. We must separate the wheat from the chaff, grind the grain, knead the dough, and place it in the heat of the fire. Again, I imagine Jesus saying,
“My body was broken to give your spirit sustenance and your heart new life, through the beatings of the Roman guards, the pounding upon my flesh by those who despised me, and the kneading of my body through persecution. So shall you break down the grains, knead them and place them in the heat of the fire to celebrate the sustenance my life and death have given your spirit as you place your trust and hope in me as your savior. “
Collaborating in Heaven
In the book of Revelation, at the end of the Bible, God paints the picture of a grand wedding feast. Delicious foods, ornate decorations and well-organized kitchens are all necessary for such feasts to succeed. This is a picture of elegance and the height of community. We have moved from the Garden of Eden, with its primitive beauty, to the glorious community and elegance of life in the City of God. We will sing new songs, and enjoy new recipes, and flavors harnessed by exquisite chefs preparing food that makes our taste buds leap for joy. Such joy will serve to compliment the joy of our heart, and the ultimate joy of being in the presence of God.
“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
– Rev. 19:6b-9 (ESV)
Collaboration in the “Now, but Not Yet”
We do not live in the past, waiting for a messiah. We do not live in the future where all our sins are washed away. We live in the time between Christ’s death and resurrection and His second coming. We have hope, alongside a yearning. We have peace and yet a deep longing. The question for you as an artist or creative becomes a question of sharing the joy and the longing with your audience. We can rejoice over the great privilege God has given us to collaborate with him in music, in food, and in life.
Today, we work with far more than raw materials. We use cameras and pigments, hard drives and software to create. We can easily lose sight of the fact that everything we do is a complex collaboration. How could we edit our films on computers without thousands of men and women who created the software and hardware. Each one was adding their piece to the puzzle. And now, each decade adds another layer to that complexity. Yet this simple truth remains: It all began with the raw materials of creation, and God rejoices in seeing how we can use our creativity together to create more new and exciting works of art. From Hip Hop artists to Symphonies and from Video Games to VR designers.
The point of our creativity, in the end, is to give God praise. Our talents are not for our own glory but for His.
All that we have is a gift of God, and all our talents were meant to honor Him. We were not the first to give Him praise, and if we fail to give him praise, creation will take up that mantel. For creation is always giving God glory.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.”
-Psalm 19:1-2 (ESV)
Jesus echoes these ideas as He rebukes the Pharisees who want the disciples to be quiet:
“And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
-Luke 19:39-40 (ESV)
Collaboration and Calling
Your calling as a creative is to collaborate with God’s creation. Part of this calling is to collaborate with other artists. The core issue to remember is that your talents, your inspiration, and your gifting are all from Him. Like those who make wine and bread, you would be nowhere without the raw materials of creation of the imagination God has given you. Your calling is to honor him, while you strive to create with excellence, and speak to the world who is longing for a savior.
Does this give you a new perspective on your calling and your process as an artist?
What will you create today, as you collaborate with God, by using the materials and resources He has given you?
Copyright © 2022 Joel & Michelle Pelsue. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.