Cultivating creative habits that harness every technological blessing, whilst cultivating a respectful love for reading, silent contemplation, and prayer is all part of digging deep wells from which you can continually draw.
Let me begin today by reading a verse from Genesis chapter 26. Surprise, surprise. It’s actually a few verses. I’ve just kind of cut it down a little. I don’t keep you for five minutes while I read it all. Verse 14 begins, the Philistines envied Isaac. And then as we go through to verse 18, we find that all the Wells which his father’s servants are digged. In the days of Abraham, his father, the Philistines, had stopped them and filled them with Earth. And then we find as we go on, Isaac, digs again. The Wells of water. The Wells of the fathers had been stopped, absolutely stuffed with jealousy. Essentially, these guys envied Isaac so much, they wanted to drive him out, they wanted to discourage him, they wanted to stop the flow, if you like, and they filled these old Wells. But that didn’t stop Isaac. Don’t let discouragement stop you. Keep moving on, keep moving forward, keep dreaming in your heart. Don’t give up. God’s call is sure and certain and his faithfulness never fails. Sometimes it takes a bit longer for us to see it work out, maybe in the way that we’ve desired and pictured, but in Jesus name, we are on the winning side.
What about us? What about you? How do you respond to setback? Would you go out there with your spade and start digging again? What emotions block your way forward when your work is criticised and rejected? I know for me, sometimes I really struggle with a low sense of self worth. When I stack myself up against other people, I tend to feel very diminished in my own sight. At times I feel insecure. I feel that I’m going to be ill equipped and inadequate to deliver on the hopes that other people have of me and the promises that I make to them. I like this, forgive my confessional, but those emotions can really block us moving forward. Sometimes they can just completely shut us down. I’ve just learned to kind of keep digging. Even when I feel. Even when I’m sweating, even when I’m thinking, oh my Lord, am I going to even be able to strike water here? Am I going to find my way? You just keep digging. And as a creative Christian faithful prayer, the Wells of our fathers today are waiting to be unstopped in coming to this verse. As we know, the Scriptures are given for our edification, for our learning as examples.
And sometimes the Holy Spirit will take a scripture, take that picture that’s painted in the Scriptures, in these kind of stories that are told of men and women who’ve gone before us. And he will take that picture to teach us about something quite different. He’ll open our eyes to some other principle or some other facet of truth and utilise that image to help us crystallise the thought that he wants to plant in our heart. And in coming to this verse and this picture of the Wells of the fathers being stopped and coming back to Re-dig those Wells so we can draw water from them and be refreshed by them. My very first thought was of the words that have spilled from the hearts of believers in generations before the men and women who’ve gone before us and blazed a trail, those who have dug deep to bring refreshing, life giving wisdom to the world. As Scripture teaches in Proverbs 1011, the mouth of the righteous is a well of life, and Isaac’s determination to Redig the Wells of old is so encourages me to draw from the lessons learned and handed down by those who’ve gone before us.
I’ve often found and witnessed, even in myself, that this pioneering, creative spirit can often also be dangerously independent and prone to recreating the wheel when there are perfectly good wheels ready for the taking. If we will draw from those who have gone before us or even have a humble teachable heart and spirit here and now, and learn from our contemporaries, learn from those we look up to, and learn even from those who are looking up to us. We can learn if we have that kind of heart, hungry to grow, hungry to learn, understanding that everyone has something that they can teach us, an input that we can draw from. We will be positioned well to see our lives go further, reach higher, and dig deeper even than many of our fathers thought possible. Drawing on a few popular but nevertheless very profound phrases. I just did a search. I’m thinking what I think is my main well that I dig from when I come to my father’s Wells and I choose to dig and Re-dig those Wells. I think the primary way I do it is through reading through books where men and women who’ve gone before me have written down their thoughts, have captured the revelation, and placed it in a book that I can then drink from.
And we find many, many people have this insight that reading is so much more than just informational. It’s not just transactional, you know, we’re not a computer reading code. Something about reading is designed by God to dig so deep into the heart and affect the hearts of men. In fact, he has chosen as his primary means of communication to do so through a book. How much more convincing do we need as to the power of words? Harry Truman said, not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers. Napoleon Bonaparte said, Show me a family of readers and I will show you the people who move the world. Walt Disney said, there is more treasure in books than in all the Pirates loot on Treasure Island. John Wooden said, Drink deeply from good books. Christopher Morley When you sell a man a book, you don’t sell him just 12oz of paper and ink and glue. You sell him a whole new life. Neil Gaiman A book is a dream that you hold in your hand. Ben Oakrey said, Reading is an act of civilization. It’s one of the greatest acts of civilization because it takes the free raw material of the mind and builds castles of possibilities.
Joseph reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Mary Smith Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere. I like that one. James O’glike said, Reading, even browsing an old book can yield sustenance denied by a database search. That’s a good one, isn’t it? Caught up in sound bites nowadays was so caught up in the information age that to some degree the art of immersion in wonderful, beautiful reading in words that men and women have placed on the page, is in some respects a dying art. Lee it not die in your life. Carl Sagan said, One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1000 years. To read is to voyage through time and then the Scriptures. Let’s look at the scriptures. The greatest book of all, Proverbs 811, says, Wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things that can be desired are not to be compared to it. And wisdom is often found and recorded and crystallised on the pages of a book. Be a reader, my friend. Matthew 1352. Therefore, every scribe which is instructed into the Kingdom of heaven is like a man who is a householder who brings forth out of his treasure things new and things old.
And there is a tremendous treasure. There are Wells of our fathers and our mothers from generations gone, waiting to be digged again. Lots of words there about what lots of people think about lots of words and the power of words. But it can be brought down to just one word, one admonition, one encouragement. Read. An exciting verse, I think, to ponder is found in John Four, verse 38. And Jesus said, I sent you to reap. That whereon you bestowed no Labour, other men laboured, and you are entered into their labours. I remember another quote, I really love this one. I’m probably going to misquote it somehow and I honestly can’t remember who said it. But a writer said, Easy reading is damn hard writing, and forgive me for the use of the word damn there. But when I read that quote, it definitely rang true with me. And we are entered into other men’s labours. These words that have been recorded through the ages have not been easily written many times. Wisdom is something that is strained, sometimes from the heart and sometimes bled onto the page. And in our generation we’ve got opportunities so remarkable that they would have been considered science fiction only a few generations ago.
We build on a foundation laid by the works and the words of others. In our day, distance has been diminished and we hop nations in an instant in the click of a button. It’s quite incredible the opportunities that have been open to us. Yet even here at the cutting edge of technology, there remains the need to stay connected to the rich spiritual heritage that could so easily be lost in all the noise cultivating creative habits that harness all of these technological blessings. I don’t want it’s not a matter of forsaking them, but it also must be balanced by cultivating a respectful love for reading, for silent contemplation and for prayer. And all of these are part of digging deep Wells from which you can draw from be a reader and then I encourage you to be a writer so others can draw from your Wells in days to come.
Thanks for listening to today’s episode. Hopefully it was a blessing to you. If it was do please consider leaving a rating and a review on whatever platform you are listening on. I also would love to encourage you to cheque out my new book faithful Creative. We’ve got a package of resources designed specifically to encourage you in your Christian creative call. You can cheque that out at faithfulcreativebook.com and if you choose to pick it up, use the Promo code podcast for 50% off so you’ll get it for half price. Have a great rest of your day and God bless Jesus first. Everything else follows you.