The art of coloring

By Jon Adams

Kid’s pastor at Living Hope Church, Little Falls

Can you imagine a world without color? Gardens with no tulips or roses? Oceans without brightly painted fish? Black and white everything.

But don’t color outside the lines. Try to stay within the lines.

I recognize the value of developing hand and eye coordination but how many times did we hear these comments while growing up and how did it affect us long term?

Why is it so important that we all stay within the lines? When we watch kids color, we generally accept any color as long as it is within the lines, even if it means purple apples, green people, orange hair, and what child would ever color a sheep white? That would be way too much white space on a page even for a 5-year-old. And remember absolutely no scribbling.

Coloring outside the lines is not always bad. It just shows where you are at. It could be a sign that you may be below age level or if your doodling actually looks like a realistic object maybe you are ahead of grade level. It could mean that you are more artistic and this coloring assignment is too simple. For many of us, if given a choice, we would prefer physical activity. What if you do not even like the picture you are supposed to color? Possibly you woke up crabby or something happened that made you agitated and now you have to color but you would rather be finger painting.

Compare this to the concept of thinking outside the box. Some companies can only thrive if they can get their employees to stop what they are doing and look at the product from extreme angles. Apple and Facebook are companies that are well known for thinking outside the stereotype.

Can the church think outside of the church? A common catch phrase I hear so often is, “I have my own spirituality.” I’d like to ask why? Is it because they are a great student and have noticed something everyone else has missed? Is it because they don’t like the lines and so have chosen to ignore them? Maybe something bad has happened and so now they don’t like the picture? Most people problems are from knowingly going outside well defined lines. Maybe it is time to get back inside the lines and try again.

Every religion has a book that explains the lines and boundaries to be followed. Scripture teaches some concepts very clearly that we are not allowed to go outside the lines no matter what our opinion or attitude is. Commandments are not philosophical or open to conjecture. If they could be colored they would have to be black and white.

However many of Jesus parables are abstract and deep thought is encouraged. I don’t know how many people consider themselves an armchair theologian but I am sure that all of us could spend more time in creative thinking on some basic tenants of scripture. How can we serve Jesus better? How do we love those around us? What can we do to promote positive choices? How can we take a stand when we see injustice? In what ways should we be more involved in our community?

Wise people have learned when to color within the lines and when it is vital to step out.

We are here to brighten peoples lives, to make a difference, to serve and love God. How awesome is it that our God has given us giftings that enable us to all add color to our world!

Gen 9:14, 15: “From now on, when I form a cloud over the Earth and the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll remember my covenant between me and you.”

 

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