Created to Create
There’s something innate in us that seeks to define who we are by what we do, or rather, what we enjoy doing. From our early childhood we’re taught that people who drive black and white cars with flashing lights and wear blue uniforms are police officers. We’re taught that women who stand in front of kids every day at school and write on a whiteboard are teachers. We’re told that men who take orders and run food at restaurants are waiters. Now, that isn’t inaccurate, we have these titles because that’s what we do for our jobs; but that isn’t the whole picture of who that person is. That teacher is also a mom, and a marathon runner. The waiter is also a husband and a handyman. The police officer is also a gamer and an amazing cook. But even still those titles don’t fully define who we are.
I think as artists, we fall into the same trap. We choose to define ourselves first by the things that we do, the things that give us life. Whether you identify yourself as an Artist, Creative, Musician, Painter or whatever variation of the term you choose, you have to consider your innermost identity down at your very core. This reminds me of a short segment in the Gospel of John:
“The next day again John (the Baptist, not the author) was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to Him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where He was staying, and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.” // John 1:35-39 (ESV)
I became an artist because of the influence on me by incredible artists that I loved. Much like the disciples who followed John the Baptist, I closely followed the actions and the personalities of the artists I related with. I wanted to be like them, make music like them, dress like them, read the same books as them- on the list goes. The point I’m making is that I trusted them, much like these disciples trusted John the Baptist. So when John points out this Jesus guy and claims that He is “The Lamb of God”, they follow behind to go check out this Jesus guy.
What are you seeking?
The inquisitive nature of the two disciples to chase after Jesus is much like how I think Creatives tend to work. Instead of turning to John the Baptist and answering a list of follow-up questions, they go investigate for themselves. Songwriters like myself and Creatives in general love the excavation and discovery, so instead of sitting in front of people and learning how someone else came to the conclusions that they did- or, for example, learning the whole process of how someone created the painting that they made- they want to be hands on and jump in and dig around and find and experience the process and the answers on their own. Jesus, being all-knowing, turns to these guys and sets them up to respond exactly how they were designed to respond. “What are you seeking?” He asks them. He knows exactly the question that draws out the unique personalities of the disciples as “excavators”.
When they ask if they can come over and join Him for a meal and get to know him (asking where someone is staying was culturally normal at this place and time as a request to come have a meal and “hang out” later on in the day) Jesus responds with “Come and you will see”- an invitation not to show up later and have a meal, but to come RIGHT NOW and jump in headfirst to a relationship with Him! So they follow Jesus, check out His digs, and then decide to spend the entire day with Him.
Now, we don’t have eyewitness testimony of the conversations that these three had together, but I imagine the whole “John said you were the Lamb of God” thing probably came up. I like to think about what Jesus might have said in response. Was he a little cryptic? Did He come right out and tell them all about God’s plan of redemption? Did they talk about the weather and compliment each other’s ability to grow a full beard? Whatever happened, it influenced one of the two disciples so much that he went and grabbed his brother and came right out and said “We found the Messiah!” Jesus left a serious impression.
Jesus knows the created makeup of every person. He knew exactly which question to ask of these dudes who were tailing Him because He knew how they were created. Jesus knows how we are created, and as artists He knows what relates to us and what piques our interest. He knows how we’re made because He made us, and He made us in reflection of who He is, in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). We are creators, like He created the universe and everything in it. We are sensitive to inspiration, as He is the inspirer of all inspiration. We are influential with our platforms, as He is the embodiment of influence and the builder of platforms. We are “doers” and workers who put our mind to a task or project and run full steam ahead to create it, as He is the inventor of work and the first to do a work in creating everything.
If God is a Creative, and you are a Creative, then I think we all might have some common ground to talk about in the case of mistaken identities. This brings me back to my original point: what is our innermost identity at our core? We are creations of God, His children. Whether we’re artists or gamers or police officers, those titles are descriptions of what we do, and they might relate to what we are like, but they are not who we are. In our deepest core of identity we are children and creations of God, His artistic masterpieces, His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). So before you are a Creative, or a Creator, you are one thing: Created. Created by The ultimate Artist and the most successful Creative, in the reflection and likeness of that same Creator.
Kevin McClure volunteers with RYFO as a part of our Artist Relations team. As a songwriter and musical artist he has had the honor of touring the United States both as a performer and a worship leader for the better part of the past 10 years. Kevin lives in Omaha, NE with his wife Hailey and his two daughters, Everleigh and Eliska.