Tag Archives: creativity

Combining Creativity and Innocence

Story of the Day for Friday June 15, 2012

Combining Creativity and Innocence

                           Be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves.

                                                                          Matthew 10:16

When Peter Mayle and his wife moved from England to southern France, they bought a quaint old house. The house needed major repairs, so they hired various local construction workers.

The Mayles soon became acquainted with the relaxed, Mediterranean view of time.  Workers would disappear from the job for weeks – even months.

This didn’t overly concern the Mayles during the hot summer months. But as November started pushing toward December, the construction was still unfinished.

Then, Peter’s wife had an idea. She invited all the construction workers to attend their Christmas party – to celebrate the completion of their home remodeling. But – and this was genius – she invited the construction workers wives as well.

Peter Mayle, in his book, A Year in Provence, explained that “no wife would want her husband to be the one not to have finished his part of the work. This would cause loss of face among the other wives and public embarrassment, followed by some ugly recriminations in the car on the way home.”

Within two days, Mayle says, the cement mixer was back in action, and the carpenters were back on the job. All of the projects were completed before the Christmas party.

I’m not sure if, as a Christian, I’m supposed to like this story. Maybe we shouldn’t appeal to people’s baser motives. All the same, I find Mrs. Mayle’s solution to their dilemma absolutely delightful.

We don’t have to look for trouble in this world. Trouble will find us. And when we are called to suffer persecution, Jesus tells us to be as harmless as doves.

Yet, all the same, he wants us to be shrewd.

I can’t think of a disciple in the Bible who endured more torments than the apostle Paul. He never flinched from suffering.

Yet, when Paul stood on trial before the Jewish high council, he made a shrewd move. He knew the council was composed of Pharisees (who believed in the resurrection of the dead), and Sadducees (who didn’t believe in heaven or hell). So, when he stood up to defend himself, he mentioned that he was raised a Pharisee and was standing trial because of his hope in the resurrection of the dead.

The Pharisees immediately sprang to his defense, and soon the judges were in a heated uproar. Paul had cleverly divided the council.

Somewhere between slapping people with lawsuits and suffering needlessly, with our tail between our legs, there is a middle ground. And, in that place, we are called to combine all the creativity and innocence that the Spirit provides.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Working at Happiness

Story of the Day for Saturday May 19, 2012

Working at Happiness

                  It is God’s gift that everyone would see good in all his labor. 

                                                                                 Ecclesiastes 3:13

A Chinese proverb says, “If you want to be happy for an hour, get drunk. If you want to be happy for three days, get married. If you want to be happy for eight days, kill your pig and eat it. If you want to be happy forever, learn to fish.

Now, — don’t even think it – I’m not advocating getting drunk, and my wife and I have shared 28 years together, and we’re still on our honeymoon. Last month, we butchered our pigs, and I’ve been happy about that for several weeks.

We want to commend, however, the wisdom of the Chinese in seeing the vital connection between work and happiness.  Researchers at Gothenburg University in Sweden published their findings that people are made happy by working toward a goal (not the attainment, but the striving).

And this is where things get bollixed up. We tend to focus on the money (i.e., the “attainment”) as the source of happiness, when it is really the striving (i.e., the work) that brings fulfillment.

We are made in the image of God. As God creates, so he has made us to create – to be creative.  Work really is meant to be satisfying.

One of the most respected studies on job satisfaction was done a few years ago at the University of Chicago.  The school’s National Opinion Research Center found little correlation between job satisfaction and money. Nor is there a link between job satisfaction and time for leisure (two or the top three happiest professions work over 50 hours a week).

What makes a job satisfying? Helping other people, being creative, and using special talents and expertise.

Want to know the profession that produces the greatest job satisfaction? (Are you ready for this?) Pastors.  They are followed by physical therapists, firefighters, school principals, artists, teachers, authors, psychologists, and special education teachers.

Beside the school principals and psychologists, the pay is average.  But when we  are active in helping and using our God-given creativity, we are the happiest in our work.

The point of all this, however, is not that you need the right job to find fulfillment. What you need is the right attitude.  Figure out how your work serves others. Be creative. And recognize the uniqueness of the talents God gave you.

Final note: Although the University of Chicago doesn’t consider this an “occupation,” I believe the most satisfying job involves long hours and no pay. The occupation is called: “being a mom.”