The Gifted Blog

September 15, 2010

Why We Make: Filled With Divine Spirit

I write The Gifted Blog because I love to make. I've been thinking about what it means to be a Christian and to love making things. I hope the reflections in this series will be jumping-off points for thoughtful discussion among us, no matter your spiritual background. For the whole series, click here.

When I began The Gifted Blog, I had some of the beginning blogger's jitters one might expect. I was self-conscious and overly aware of my work being made public. But I also had another kind of anxiety.

As I continued to wrap gifts and blog about it, a nagging question lingered: What does God think about all this? Sure, blogging about gift wrapping isn't one of the Seven Deadly Sins, but it doesn't seem particularly virtuous either. As a Christian, I care about what God thinks of my life. Was my love of DIY frivolous to him? Did God care that I had just used a mixed greens box to wrap a gift? Was I supposed to turn my blog into a Christian gift wrapping blog?

Then I read Exodus and my heart leapt. God commissions a fleet of craftsmen and women to execute his custom design for the tabernacle, his dwelling place:
The Lord spoke to Moses: See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with divine spirit, with ability, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft. Moreover, I have appointed with him Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have given skill to all the skillful, so that they may make all that I have commanded you.   Exodus 31: 1-6
God gives us the ability to create. Not in an abstract sense, but quite specifically. He filled Bezalel with his own spirit, and the knowledge to devise artistic designs, skillfully manipulate precious metals, cut stones and carve wood. He's given skill to all the skillful.

Are you a crafter? A maker? A woodshop tinkerer? Got any creative skill at all? This isn't just an odd thing you happen to have a knack for, it is an ability given to you from God. It is something to be used well. The ability to create beautiful things isn't unimportant to God. In fact, I believe he is the source of our ability to do so.

So, why do we make? One answer is that we make because we've been given a divine spirit to do so.

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{Image by Mr. T in DC}


  1. I believe it's a shame that our culture has lost the meaning of the divine spirit in creating. Other cultures celebrate this, but ours treats the creative spirit as frivolous.

    While the worship of our handmade creations may be frivolous, the act of creating them is not. Look at Bonsai trees, or carving a flute by hand. The whole point is the meditative aspect of creating. I'm sure you feel that when you're in the groove of wrapping.

  2. Thank you for this, Charissa! I cannot wait to share this with my husband, and as always, I enjoy and appreciate the encouragement!

  3. @DuhBe - Hi Luci! Yes, the creative spirit is often underappreciated. I struggled with my deep enjoyment of gift wrapping, because, as you say, it is frivolous to extol the gift wrap itself. Kraft paper and string is not meant to be worshiped! BUT, I love what you point out - that it's not just the thing itself, but the act of making it that can be a spiritual endeavor.

    @The Running Writer - Cassandra! So good to hear from you. Thanks so much; it feels like a risk to be writing about this and I really appreciate your kind words.


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