Somehow, notes Os Guinness, "we human beings are never happier than when we are expressing the deepest gifts that are truly us." Now, some children are gifted toward science, and others are born athletes. But whatever their specialty, all children are inherently creative. Give them a barrel of Legos and a free afternoon and my boys will produce an endless variety of spaceships and fortresses and who knows what. It comes naturally to children; it's in their nature, their design as little image bearers. A pack of boys let loose in a wood soon becomes a major Civil War reenactment. A chorus of girls, upon discovering a trunk of skirts and dresses, will burst into the Nutcracker Suite. The right opportunity reveals the creative nature.

This is precisely what happens when God shares with mankind his own artistic capacity and then sets us down in a paradise of unlimited potential. It is an act of creative invitation, like providing Monet with a studio for the summer, stocked full of brushes and oils and empty canvases. Or like setting Martha Stewart loose in a gourmet kitchen on a snowy winter weekend, just before the holidays. You needn't provide instructions or motivation; all you have to do is release them to be who they are, and remarkable things will result. As the poet Hopkins wrote, "What I do is me: for that I came."

Oh, how we long for this—for a great endeavor that draws upon our every faculty, a great "life's work" that we could throw ourselves into. "God has created us and our gifts for a place of his choosing," says Guinness, "and we will only be ourselves when we are finally there." Our creative nature is essential to who we are as human beings—as image bearers—and it brings us great joy to live it out with freedom and skill. Even if it's a simple act like working on your photo albums or puttering in the garden—these, too, are how we have a taste of what was meant to rule over a small part of God's great kingdom.

 

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