“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).”
Today my wife forwarded an Email to me that contained the subject line “biblical temple exhibit in his back yard”. When I read through the text and looked at the photos of the work of the man who built the exhibit, I agreed with the comment in the text that read,”Amazing”.
The text of the Email begins:
“A retired farmer has spent more than 30 years building an enormous scale model of a Biblical temple. Alec Garrard, 78, has dedicated a massive 33,000 hours to constructing the ancient Herod’s Temple , which measures a whopping 20 foot by 12 foot.
The pensioner has hand-baked and painted every clay brick and tile and even sculpted 4,000 tiny human figures to populate the courtyards.
Historical experts believe the model is the best representation in the world of what the Jewish temple actually looked like and it has attracted thousands of visitors from all over the globe. But Mr. Garrard, who started the elaborate project in his 40s, says his masterpiece will not be finished in his lifetime.”
He has received acclaim from archeologists and other experts for his work, and no wonder. His temple didn’t just appear out of thin air. He researched the Temple of Herod for three years before he even began to construct his model.
Garrard had something else that motivated him. He said, I’ve always loved making models and as I was getting older I started to think about making one big project which would see me through to the end of my life.”
What impresses me most about Garrard is that he found his passion and matched it with his gift. Garrard said, “I have an interest in buildings and religion so I thought maybe I could combine the two and I came up with the idea of doing the Temple .”
In addition, I admire him in that he keeps learning:.
“I’d seen one or two examples of it in Biblical exhibitions, but I thought they were rubbish and I knew I could do better. I’ve been working on it for decades, but it will never be finished as I am always finding something new to add.”
I just started taking a class at church which is supposed to help me discover my spiritual gifts. I’ve been a Christian a long time, and I thought I knew what they were already, but some new information in the first class surprised me.
Our book mentioned a gift I had never heard of: creative communication. It cited Psalm 150:3-5 as a reference from the Bible concerning this gift.
The passage above has to do with musical talent. But the authors of the book (Network, by Bugbee and Cousins) describe creative communication this way: “The divine enablement to communicate God’s truth through a variety of art form.”
People who hold this gift have the ability to “use variety and creativity to captivate people and cause them to consider Christ’s message…”. Those so gifted with creative communication also are able to “challenge people’s perspective of God…” and “demonstrate fresh ways to express the Lords’s ministry and message.”
My ears and eyes perked up during this class when I encountered this information. This was because one of the creative communication art forms mentioned is writing.
I’ve been told all my life by many people that I am a good writer. However, up until now I had never considered the possibility that it might be a spiritual gift.
Occasionally someone will read one of these devotionals and note the insight in it. There are times when I write here that I do feel as if I am getting some fresh message from the Lord.
Now, I do not write this in an attitude of boastfulness, nor do I consider what I write to be extra biblical. It’s just that I think there may be times God allows me to see a new spin on things and communicate it.
If this is true, it has biblical precedent. Jesus once said that a disciple in His kingdom who teaches His Word ” is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old (Matthew 13:52).”
Mr. Garrard motivates me because it was late into his life when he began his amazing project. I am also putting on some grey hairs (and not all of them on my head). He inspires me because I see from his life that it is never too late to begin using your gift for God’s glory.
I have no idea if Mr. Garrard believes in Jesus Christ. However, if he does, his gift is also mentioned in the Bible: craftsmanship. The authors of my church textbook would say he has been enabled by God to creatively design and build items to be used for ministry.
His temple is surely ministering to people. By viewing it, one can get some perspective on what life was like for the people who worshipped there. One can even picture in their minds Jesus teaching there, or chasing the moneylenders out of the place.
I am grateful that Mr. Garrard chose not to hide his gift away. His work and example has encouraged me to do the same.