1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

In communal leisure activities such as sports and games, bringing God glory is fairly straightforward: love your enemies as yourself.[1] The concept is simple, though challenging. But how do we honor God with our solitary hobbies, such as painting, baking, writing, sewing, or woodworking? By intentionally directing the mind, heart, and spirit to deep truths and sacred presence, Christians can transform all hobbies into divine worship.

Here are five ways our hobbies can glorify God:

  1. Our Enjoyment Honors the Giver of All Good Gifts

Withdrawing from others to make things might seem selfish or even ostentatious, but this isn’t necessarily true. In his book, You Are Not Your Own, Alan Noble explains that Christ’s redeeming work means that “our lives are not quests for significance or self-actualization, but an act of joyful participation in God’s grace.”[2] When Jesus clothes us in His pure white robes and names us His children, He abolishes the need to earn our identity, achieve great feats, or reach our greatest, worldly potential. We are free to enjoy His blessings, our interests, and crafts, void of any guilt or pressure. Noble goes on to say that while leisure pursuits can’t grant us purpose, belonging, salvation, or a justified existence, they can offer delight. Our Heavenly Father invented hobbies and instilled specific passions in us for our pleasure. Provided we don’t idolize them, He delights when we enjoy His gifts, as any giver would.

  1. Repetition and Solitude Allow For Prayerful Meditation

Our lives are tsunamis of stimulation, busy schedules, and endless responsibilities. In contrast, the act of making something in solitude provides margin to slow down, think, process, and gain perspective. It brings us into the present moment. Now I cut the paper; now I add the glue. This immediacy mitigates brooding over yesterday or fearing for tomorrow, allowing for peace in the present. The silence that envelops us as we draw a hundred hatch marks or hammer a dozen nails is the perfect atmosphere in which to speak to our Heavenly Father about the struggles and decisions we face, ask for direction, and listen for His reply.

Additionally, tactile work is therapeutic in that it takes us from the digital world into the physical. As C.S. Lewis put it in The Screwtape Letters, written from the perspective of a demon, “The humans live in time but our Enemy [God] destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.”[3] This connection to our present environment shifts our fixation from daily stressors, distant issues, and social media facades toward the awareness of eternity and the importance of flesh-and-blood relationships.

  1. Creating Allows Us to Integrate Biblical Themes

If we actively and continually pursue God, themes of salvation, hope, and grace will permeate our work. This doesn’t mean every painting must depict a Bible scene. Every book need not overtly invoke the name of God or act as a heavy-handed analogy – though they can, if done with excellence. Know that God can be the subtle foundation of everything we create, embodied in symbolism and Biblical themes: The sunrise after a battle. The reconciliation between parent and child. Beauty in creation. Light, life, and love.

The possibilities are innumerable, whether it’s a verse slipped into a gift basket, a hymn etched into a brace beam, or a fictional character’s self-sacrifice. At first, integrating such themes may seem unnatural, but we are not wedging God into where He doesn’t already exist. We are shining a light where people have forgotten to look for Him, reflecting the image of the One who was and is to come, who placed every atom according to His sovereign design.

If the mountains and trees and rocks sing his praise, so can we.

  1. We Create After God’s Own Heart 

Elohim, the supreme master artisan’s first recorded act, was creation, and He declared it good. God exploded galaxies into being like fireworks, molded Mount Everest, and landscaped coral reefs. He paints glorious sunsets over island volcanos and patterns the paths of lightning across ocean skies. Some of these magnificent sights He shares with us; some are for His pleasure alone.

Whether we write a poem to keep private or build a fire pit in the backyard for our family and friends, we are emulating God’s image. A palace gardener smiles when his children grow sprouts in an egg carton, much as an airplane mechanic is thrilled when his kids build model planes. Likewise, when we create, we please the Creator.

God has a special affinity for artisans. The first person in the Bible to receive the Spirit of God was an artisan. Exodus 35:30-35 tells how God filled Bezalel and blessed him with knowledge concerning metallurgy, stonework, design, engraving, embroidery, and weaving. The verses draw a direct connection between the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and arts and crafts.

With the strength of the Spirit and our identity secure in Christ, we can humbly and honestly acknowledge our current level of ability or non-ability. No matter the breadth or height of our skills, we may unashamedly strive toward growth, knowledge, and improvement. Seeking mastery isn’t necessarily selfish, arrogant, or worldly, and it certainly isn’t futile. Rather, when we value and pursue beauty, quality, and excellence, we honor the Master craftsman and that which He loves.

These thrilling concepts are more fully explored in Jordan Raynor’s book Called to Create.[4]

  1. When We Give Freely, We Model God’s Generosity

Creative work is largely done in solitude. A painter needs time to paint, a writer, time to write. Our best, most profound work is often accomplished free from the melee of distraction. Still, at the end of the day, there is generally a product that can be given away, whether it’s home-baked muffins or handcrafted corn hole boards.

Homemade gifts, especially unexpected ones, are joyous to both give and receive. Such a gift goes deeper than the object itself. The effort and forethought that go into such a gift say: “You are worth it to me.” No other type of present does this in quite the same way or with as much supporting evidence.

However, generosity with our work is not always easy. It can sometimes feel as though the labor, hours, skill, and care we put into creating such a gift go under-appreciated. Why do it? Even if the recipient could care less, God sees our generosity, and it matters to Him. Hebrews 13:16 says, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

When we make our Heavenly Father’s pleasure our motivation and pray for the recipient as we work, the act of making can transcend into a ministry of unconditional love.

As we have seen, there are many ways to glorify God through solitary hobbies, but it doesn’t happen on its own. Unbelieving craftspeople make things every day. The difference is our intentionality.

So the next time you craft, build, shape, make, or bake, enjoy your passion for the gift it is, and thank the Giver. Sink into the present, talk with God, and listen for His still small voice. Let the spirit of the Gospel shine through the process and the product. Reflect on how He is the master artisan at whatever you are attempting. Pursue excellence, and consider how you might bless others with or through your craft.

Praise, prayer, preaching, learning, and going forth. It sounds like a mission field.

It sounds like time well spent.


Citation Information

Molly Hopkins, “Craft and Glory,” An Unexpected Journal: Leisure 6, no. 3. (Fall 2023), .


Endnotes

[1]  Matthew 5:44; Mark 12:31.

[2]  Alan Noble, You Are Not Your Own: Belonging to God in an Inhuman World (Downers Grove: IVP, 2021), 132.

[3] C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (San Francisco: C.S. Lewis Signature Classic, 2012), 47.

[4] Jordan Raynor, Called to Create: A Biblical Invitation to Create, Innovate, and Risk (Ada, MI: Baker Books, 2017).