The High Calling recently posted a helpful video about creativity in the workplace, drawing insights from innovation consultant Barry Saunders.
Saunders notes that, despite our tendency to think of creativity only in terms of artistic expression, creativity is simply about “building ideas.” Pointing to Genesis, he observes that God gave us a clear directive to “go create things,” offering us a “foundational understanding of what we were meant to do and how we were meant to spend our days.”
But getting creative in the workplace can be tough, as Saunders duly notes. Each of us will face unique struggles in bringing our whole selves to the work we do. When it comes to creativity, it means tapping our imaginations, but more fundamentally, it involves aligning those imaginations to the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. Building ideas for our own purposes is one thing, but this next step of obedience and alignment will prove challenging even for the most forward-thinking and out-of-the-box entrepreneurs.
Through this understanding, creativity is ultimately about innovating our way toward better stewardship and sacrifice, submitting our imaginations to the divine and unleashing them toward the service of others. How can we innovate better ways of managing, molding, and growing what God has given us? “All is on loan,” as Lester DeKoster says, so how do we multiply the talents?
But although creativity needn’t be confined to the arts, as already noted, the general method of artistic expression does offer a helpful starting point for how we might alter our thinking about creativity in the workplace and beyond.
In his chapter on creativity in Wisdom & Wonder: Common Grace in Science and Art, Abraham Kuyper explains how the “priestly service” of the artist is to foresee beauty and share it with his neighbor. Though the natures and shades of the variables will differ, we would do well to pursue a similar discovery process in the rest of our daily work:
Within society, those who see and know more serve in every domain those who saw and knew less…The same applies in the world of beauty. The artist has a sharper eye. He sees what you do not see. He has a more fertile imagination and captures in the mirror of his imagination things that escape your notice. He sees more; he sees deeper; he sees better; he sees things in relationship to each other. He receives harmonious impressions, and he objectifies those impressions in a way that nature does not provide, but in a way that he must show in order to let you, with your weaker and coarser and less practiced eye, enjoy similar impressions.
The artist sees. What he sees he captures in his soul. From his soul he incarnates that impression in his imagination. From that imagination he brings it to the canvas, in lines, forms, and colors. It is reproduced for you with such humanity and harmony that you perceive and observe on the canvas what you would never have observed in nature itself. That is the fruit of his effort on behalf of the neighbor.
In all that we do—in the office, on the assembly line, in the home, or in the church—may we strive to have a “sharper eye.” And when, by God’s grace, we foresee the unforeseen—that goodness and truth and beauty from above—may we bring it to canvas for the glory of God and the benefit of all.