One of the highlights of my “job” is working in coffee shops. (I use the term “coffee shops” to encompass a number of places that, basically, have tables and chairs that I can sit at comfortably, at-length and be outside of my apartment… WiFi, excellent background music, and tasty drinks/food are bonuses.) Some may enjoy the cubicle/office thing and consistency and mini-fridges, but I prefer the chaos of hauling my life (my MacBook Pro and journal) on my shoulders and camping briefly in some space fashioned precisely for the thirsty/hungry nomad. It’s also a lot of fun to be around other humans once in awhile. I mean… my stuffed-animals and I are very close and they make great company, but even we need some breathing room every so often!
I tend to write almost all of my prayer letters from the well-worn seats of these very places (I would list some for you, but I’m afraid you’ll go there and then take up a valuable seat in these oft-crowded spaces). And the reason isn’t that my desk/chair at home is not comfy enough or anything… but being around other humans, drinking well-sugared beverages, unusual smells, different Pandora playlists/stations, etc. all bring a surprising amount of inspiration to write–to create.
Epic has a site entirely devoted to various resources developed “in-house”–by the creative and brilliant minds of its own staff (check it out!!). Recently they came out with a series of nine elements that describe what Epic is About. I recommend reading all of them (the first one is here), because they are extremely well-written, thorough, and encouraging! But recently I’ve been resonating with this one: Epic is About… Hope. And particularly this one line: (Agh! I know, it’s totally unfair to just highlight one part because it doesn’t nearly encompass everything that’s so awesome about the truth shared… but then this post would be EVEN LONGER–so uncool)
Hope is fueled by love to create: whether through works of art, exploring innovative solutions or possibilities, the development of people, or the shaping of a culture in which leaders can grow and thrive. When our hearts have truly been shown a better reality than what we see around us, we cannot help but work to create that for others.
Sunday in church, the pastor shared what he called, “the theology of work:”
Genesis 1:1 (ESV) “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
And the whole sermon was on this idea that it is in the image and character of God to create. The first impression God gives us is that He creates–He works! And when He makes us in His image, we also work… we also create. And it’s not just “creative” professions (like artists, creative directors, etc.), but ALL of us… in our work/jobs/lives we image (it’s a verb!) God!
I couldn’t help but think about the “Epic is About…Hope” article as I sat in service this morning. And even as I ponder the calling the Lord’s given me right now–which is to share of His calling on my life, His work already done on college campuses, His plan for the future, and to invite others to join in His work–one of the most poetic ways to describe what I “do for a living:” I am hopefully creating the Kingdom here with God.
And what inspires me to create, to tell stories and terrible jokes, to pursue passions… to paint, even, are the glimpses into the amazing and intricately diverse world He’s placed us in. Those odd smells, different people and languages, great music, sweet treats that I find so wonderful at coffee shops are part of this crazy world that the Lord loves to death. I believe what John 3:17 states: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” We need the variation and the weirdness and the surprises in our lives to get us out of our M.O.’s and into the infinitely good possibilities and combinations of people, talents, passions, and flaws in order to taste the Kingdom. And we ALL participate in bringing the Kingdom to our doorsteps by bringing our full-selves (talents, passions, flaws) into our workplaces, homes, church communities, neighborhoods and cities. Simply by doing your work (even if unemployed and even if homemaking) and doing it to the best of your God-given ability–we create the Kingdom around us. Doing our work well reflects the image of a god who also works well! Asking the Holy Spirit to fill you at work images God! Even if the workplace seems so dark, God’s not far off because the Holy Spirit’s in you. And what the pastor said so truthfully yesterday morning: “God wants to establish His Kingdom where you are.”
This is so rambly and all-over the place. But I hope you take your place as co-workers with God… co-creators with God… to help create the reality of a glorious Kingdom with an almighty and gracious King here in the places you work.