You may well be familiar with the verse from 1 John 3:1: ‘What marvellous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it – we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are’ How marvellous indeed. Could there be anything better than that? Of course not!
Adam and Eve failed to appreciate that. Being children of God wasn’t enough for them. They wanted to be gods themselves (‘…you will be like God…’ – see Gen 3:5). One wonders if this desire has continued to trip humanity up ever since. Not satisfied with being the amazing people God has made us to be, we have coveted another’s anointing, thinking it better than the one we’ve been given.
Thomas Merton wrote: ‘The value of our activity depends almost entirely on the humility to accept ourselves as we are. The reason why we do things so badly is that we are not content to do what we can. We insist on doing what is not asked of us because we want to taste the success that belongs to somebody else. We never discover what it is like to make a success of our own work, because we do not want to undertake any work that is merely proportionate to our powers. Who is willing to be satisfied with a job that expresses all their limitations? They will accept such work only as a means of livelihood while they wait to discover their true vocation. The world is full of unsuccessful business men who still secretly believe they were meant to be artists or writers or actors in the movies’ (from ‘No Man Is An Island’, 1955, p.124)
I want to stress again – we are children of the living God. That is an incredible position to be in. There is nothing better than that. In that, we have each been given a unique, amazing and incredible anointing. We needn’t covet, or be threatened by, what others are anointed to do. What we have each been given to do (and be) is sufficient for us. It is also vital and necessary in the unfolding of God’s purpose. We needn’t be jealous that someone else is an artist whilst we feel like mere businessmen/women. Instead of feeling threatened, we need in fact to do all we can to encourage and help release the artist in the other person. Help them create their master piece. And we need to learn ‘to make a success of our own work’. It is the artistry in the other that will help you become the success you are called to be. And here’s another thing: you may feel what you have is merely business like but everyone else thinks you are also an artist! We all have our own master pieces to create. Let’s therefore bring the artist out in each other. Let’s get creating!’
By Peter Rawlinson