Viewing our work as a calling from God changes our motivations for creating, how we create, and even the products we choose to create. As we submit to the agenda of our Caller, we will be on the lookout for ways in which we can glorify God and love others through the things we create. As the life of C.S. Lewis shows us, when we are abiding in Christ (John 15:4), His Spirit will open our eyes to see where He is moving in the world and what He is calling us to create.
By the time C.S. Lewis committed his life to Jesus Christ at the age of 32, he was already on the path to a successful career as an academic and author. But while Lewis’s newfound Christian faith didn’t cause him to change his chosen work, his conversion clearly caused him to change his relation to his work, reimagining his creating as a means of glorifying God and serving others. This undoubtedly influenced the products Lewis chose to create.
Through works such as Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and The Four Loves, Lewis used words to reveal the character of God. The best example of this is found in The Chronicles of Narnia, the children’s fiction series which centers on the character of Aslan, the Christ-like lion who creates Narnia and redeems it through His sacrificial death.
Perhaps contrary to popular belief, Lewis, like most culture-creators, did not lock himself in a room until he came up with an idea for a product that would reveal the redemptive character of God. As Lewis once explained, “Some people seem to think that I began by asking myself how I could say something about Christianity to children; then fixed on the fairy tale as an instrument, then collected information about child psychology;…then drew up a list of basic Christian truths and hammered out ‘allegories’ to embody them. This is all pure moonshine. I couldn’t write in that way. All my seven Narnian books began with seeing pictures in my head. [The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe] began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood…Then one day…I said to myself: ‘Let’s try to make a story about it.’ At first I had very little idea how the story would go. But then suddenly Aslan came bounding into it…once He was there He pulled the whole story together.”
Like Lewis, our product ideas will likely not come from brainstorming sessions where we focus intensely on how we can create a product that reveals God’s character. But as we begin to create, and we “let the Word of Christ dwell in [us] richly,” (Colossians 3:16) we will undoubtedly see how we can use our creations to reveal the character of our Creator and Caller. If our work is to feel like a calling, we, like Lewis, must be willing to allow the True Aslan to come “bounding into” every aspect of our lives, including our work.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.John 15:4
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.Colossians 3:16