Looking at sewing and particularly clothing, this week, we have to return to the idea of vocation as it intercepts with creativity.
Remember, vocation is integral to creativity at its most meaningful. Thinking of creativity as separate from vocation can make it an end, when it really is a gift, a tool to be used. And just as we can hone and improve tools in the garage or toolshed — or with gifts of musicality or relationship or mathematical prowess — we can do the same with creativity. But it’s the reason behind it that motivates us to do what we do.
Service to our neighbor and glory to God.
Let’s explore this in light of Matthew 24:31-46. Consisting of two juxtaposed scenarios, two juxtaposed groups, Jesus is making a point about faith in action.
It opens with Jesus saying in verses 31-33 that when He returns, He will separate the “sheep from the goats”. While this is a judgement scene, the focus isn’t on judgement or even on belief or faith, but how that faith played out in the life of the person.
Jesus then goes on to address each group, beginning in verses 34-37. It seems a rather standard commendation, such as when an earthly king rewards the noble behavior of his subjects. But as we read on, we see that there’s more going on than promoting desirable behavior.
In verses 38-40, the “honored subjects” or the “sheep” ask the King, “When did we do all these things?” There’s a lot of repetition in this passage, which may be boggy to wade through, but if you look at it from a few steps back, is rather poetic and perhaps even rhythmic in its telling. So many ways the people ministered to Him, and so many ways that we minister to one another. It’s really beautiful!
And of course, verses 41-46 are the other side of the coin: those who did not minister to Him by ministering to others. We must be careful, friends, when we consider this passage, not to confuse the purpose of the faith and the works, nor to confuse their respective sources.
Faith is a gift that is given by the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 2:8-9). By it, we believe and are saved. Without it, we are lost. Similarly, works are a gift, prepared for us by God and we do them at His moving (see Ephesians 2:10). It’s the faith that makes the works good. Anyone can feed or clothe or visit. Many do! But the good works that we do are only as good as the One from whom they stem.
We do good because He has done greater good for us.
Tomorrow, we’ll be looking at the raising of Tabitha and her ministry of clothing the poor. In the mean time, please let me know about a favorite clothing gift!
Again, I’ll go first: My amazing sister is such a sweetie and much more fashion-minded than I am. She pretty regularly cleans out her closet and offers me whatever I’d like from the clothes she plans on donating. For me, a gal who doesn’t enjoy shopping all that much (gasp!), she’s a huge blessing in my life!