In my last post, I wrote the following, “If we believe that ‘All good things come down from the Father…’ as the Bible teaches, then we are the originators of nothing…we are merely conduits of His love and grace.” And the more I thought about that phrase, “originators of nothing”, the more I thought it deserved a post of it’s own. It is just three words long, but it speaks volumes. I know I have done a lot of different types of things in my lifetime, but were any of them truly original or new? If I am being totally honest, as much as I would like to think of myself as a creative person looking to do something new and different, it has all been done before. The best any of us can really do is “put a new twist on an old idea.”
My wife, Lauri Lee, is a fantastic cook. I have been truly blessed by her culinary creations over the years, as has our family and friends. And she is always looking for new and different dishes and desserts (ooh…some of those have been amazing!!), but the truth is all of those delicious delights to the eyes and the tongue (at the expense of my waist size), have really just been twists or variations of other recipes and dishes that have been around for years. Add a little of this or replace one ingredient with another….then use a slightly different way of cooking it….and presto….a great new dish or dessert. And Lauri Lee truly has a knack for putting fresh new twists on old recipes. Keep ’em coming, babe. If need be, I’ll buy new jeans.
King Solomon described it this way, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” [Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV]. Nothing new under the sun, I like the way he puts it. While it sounds like an all-inclusive statement and I do think he meant it to be one, it leaves the door open a crack for us to dig a little deeper.
So has there ever been anything truly new or different? Based on what Solomon said, I would say no, at least not under the sun. But beyond the sun or before the sun came into existence, that’s a totally different story.
James, the brother of our Lord, wrote it this way, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” [James 1:17 NASB]. The Father of lights existed before our sun. In fact, it was one of the lights He fathered. He made everything back in the day (six of them, actually) totally unique, completely new, without a copy or a twist on anything. The closest thing we can find in creation to “something that was merely a twist or variation of what existed before”…is mankind. We are made “in His own image.” But even with human beings, we are totally new and different than the Creator, Himself, in that we are “mere mortals” with a distinct beginning and end. He is not.
In the book, “Unlocking Creation”, I talked about the fact that the moon is merely a reflection of the sun’s light, not a source of light, itself. And in the same way, we are meant to be reflections of the greater light, Jesus Christ, the Light of the world. We are not to be sources of light, in and of ourself, but merely reflections of Him. May it be so, Lord.
God has created us to be like Him, in that we have the desire to be creative, to innovate, to take something and make it better or at least different…sort of like the classic Beatles song, Hey Jude, “take a sad song and make it better”. We are able to improve things, making them fresh and different, and that is good (especially when Lauri Lee cranks out one of those tasty new treats). Even Lennon and McCartney, as talented as they were as songwriters, could only come up with variations of what other great songwriters had been composing for years. Afterall, there are only so many notes on a guitar or piano and only so many ways to say I love you in some silly love song (good one, Paul).
Even the Beatles, you see (as much as it pains me to say this), were basically “originators of nothing”. I am sure they would be the first to tell you that they merely borrowed from the singers and songwriters they looked up to when they were young. They just put a fresh twist on it…and what a twist and shout it was!!
I do not say any of this to “put a damper” on the things you and I endeavor to do, not at all. Rather, I would hope to encourage you to be creative all the more. Cook, write, sing, paint, build and then, dream of creating even bigger and better things. God want us to be creative and to be passionate about the things we create. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of Jesus.” [Colossians 3:17 NASB]
But may we never forget, Lord, that we are “originators of nothing.” For everything we are and all that we think, say or do…begins and ends with You…the Creator of all things.
I, for one, wouldn’t want it any other way, for His ways are, indeed, higher than ours.
To truly be “a reflection of the Son”, that would be the highest calling I can imagine.