Friday, 11 March 2011 10:46

Cultivating Talent

Written by  Candy Arrington
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God gave each of us talents and creative minds. The first verse of the book of Genesis says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth.” God is Creator and He formed us in His image.  When He formed our universe, God could have made a boring environment that only sustained life. Instead He used all His creative ability to form majestic mountains, scenic lakes, vast oceans, and awe-inspiring deserts. He incorporated multiple colors, and created unusual animals and interesting plants. Instead of a drab world, he created beauty and variety for us to enjoy.

 


Inspiration

One of our biggest sources of inspiration is nature. When we experience a beautiful view, watch animals, or hike a mountain trail, it inspires us. Problems don’t seem quite as big when we spend time in nature and the creative part of our brains gets turbo-charged.
But God also speaks directly to us when we are in unlikely places. He has the ability to inspire us with ideas that incorporate our talents no matter where we are or what we’re doing.

George Fredric Handel was a German musician and composer, who was hired by the rulers of England to compose music for celebrations, musical productions, and worship. One of Handel’s most famous works is Messiah, a long oratorio about the life of Christ that includes orchestra, chorus, and solos. A familiar song from Messiah that you may have heard is “Hallelujah Chorus.” Handel wrote Messiah in just 24 days, in a room alone. A servant overheard Handel say, “I did think I did see all Heaven before me and the great God Himself.” At a time when there were no movie theaters, televisions, or DVDs, God gave Handel a vision in his mind that inspired the music he wrote.

Talent and Worship

Years ago, artistic masters produced great works that encouraged people to worship. Famous painters, like Michelangelo Bonaroti, who painted beautiful scenes on the ceiling and walls of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican in Rome, Italy, and Leonardo da Vinci, who painted The Last Supper, which shows Jesus with his disciples, were selected to create works of art for the church. Michelangelo was also a sculptor. His famous sculpture, Pieta, shows Mary holding Jesus following his crucifixion.
But talents used for God go as far back as Bible times. Musicians usually led God’s armies into battle. Playing a trumpet instead of carrying a sword took courage! And at the dedication of the rebuilt walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 12), two large choirs and orchestras led the celebration. The choir director or chief musician likely wrote songs especially for the occasion.

Following the Israelites escape from Egyptian captivity, God commanded Moses to build a tabernacle. The people donated their jewelry, cloth, precious metals, and stones. Bezalel and Oholiab were chosen for their skills and artistic craftsmanship to head up the design and construction. Oholiab also had the gift of teaching, so he trained others. The construction of the tabernacle was a major project and required the skills of more than two men. Women were also involved with weaving, embroidery, and sewing robes for the priests and curtains to separate areas of the tabernacle.

Exodus says the people were willing to do the work. Effort was involved. Sometimes, when we see others use their talents, we think they’re just lucky they were inspired. But there is more to talent and creativity than just inspiration. Sometimes we’re a little afraid to use our talents for God, fearing we’re not good enough or people will make fun of us. But if you’re willing, God will give you courage and inspiration.
 

Foundations for Talent

You may not discover or use your talent without experiencing various forms of talent and people who are masters of their craft. Most people want to have success with their talent immediately, but you’ll never excel at anything without learning the basics. Musicians have to now the foundations of chords and rhythm. Builders have to know engineering concepts that keep structures from falling down. Artists have to know the foundational elements of color and shading. Writers and speakers have to know grammar basics. While it may seem boring at the time, learning the basics is necessary before you can master a skill, even if you have talent.

Discipline is one of those things we’d rather sidestep, but exercising your talents involves discipline. If you are a musician, you have to practice. If you are a painter, sculptor, or woodworker, you have to try new techniques and materials. You have to learn from someone who knows more than you do.

Also, when God provides inspiration for your talent, don’t wait to act. Part of the creative process is obedience to the vision God gives you. If you don’t act, the inspiration may disappear before you capture it. At least, make notes on your idea.

J. S. Bach was a master at stretching creativity and being disciplined. He wrote a new hymn or cantata each week for the Lutheran church during the 1700s. Sometimes having a goal or deadline makes us use our talents more.


Creativity Blockers

Often things prevent us from discovering and exercising our gifts and talents. Exhaustion hurts creativity. When you stay busy all the time and don’t rest, your mind isn’t as sharp and you aren’t as productive. Technology (texting, social networking, TV, computer games) robs creativity and prevents strengthening talents. Another big creativity blocker is sin. If you forget to thank God for your talents or get an attitude about your abilities, it hurts your connection to God. Talent is a gift and God is our major source of creativity and inspiration. So thank God for the ideas and talents He’s given you, and use them to glorify Him.
 

Last modified on Friday, 11 March 2011 10:49
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