Sunday, August 05, 2018

Obedience and Creativity

“God left the world unfinished for man to work his skill upon. He left the electricity in the cloud, the oil in the earth. He left the rivers unbridged and the forests unfelled and the cities unbuilt. God gives to man the challenge of raw materials, not the ease of finished things. He leaves the pictures unpainted and the music unsung and the problems unsolved, that man might know the joys and glories of creation.” - Pres. Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, 1988

All members of the Church who accept callings to serve in the kingdom of God are blessed by the oath and covenant of the priesthood. Not only are we promised wonderful blessings if we are willing to "live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God;" but also, "Whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies." (D&C 84:33)

So, in addition to obedience, what does it mean to "magnify" our callings?  I think that magnifying our calling begins by showing up, but then extends to using and applying our God-given faculties and talents to our calling.  When it comes to our callings, we should be inventive, creative, and innovative.  In this way we demonstrate our love of God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength.

Now, we cannot use creativity as a justification for sin.  Magnifying our callings begins principally with the strictest obedience. God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, and no amount of creativity give us licence to violate the laws of God.  Creativity does not make us above the law. 

"In the morality of my station and duties (i.e., of the moral code) the station presents us with the duty, and we say yes or no, "I will" or "I will not".  We choose between obeying or disobeying a given command. In the morality of challenge or grace, the situation says, "Here is a mess, a crying evil, a need! What can you do about it?"  We are asked not to say "Yes" or "No" or "I will" or "I will not," but to be inventive, to create, to discover something new. The difference between ordinary people and saints is not that saints fulfill the plain duties that ordinary men neglect.  The things saints do have not usually occurred to ordinary people at all... "Gracious" conduct is somehow like the work of an artist. It needs imagination and spontaneity. It is not a choice between presented alternatives but the creation of something new."   --  A. D. Lindsay, "The Two Moralities"

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