It was amazing. It was exciting. It was spectacular. Angels watched in awe as “by the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. . . . For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded and it stood fast” (Ps. 33:6-9).
God, our Creator, brought the universe into existence and created the world by His speech. But His hands touched the earth, and “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground” in His image (Gen. 2:7).
God is not only Creator but also an innovator—the Ultimate Innovator. Innovation, by definition, is “a new idea, creative thoughts, new imaginations in device or method.” To be innovative is to be creative— to be able to think outside the box. That’s what was needed to save humankind once we fell into Satan’s hands.
The enemy was sure he had triumphed when Adam and Eve succumbed to his wicked temp- tation. He was certain the human race was forever trapped in his wicked grasp.
But long before, in their infinite wisdom and foresight, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit developed an innovative plan to save the world (see Zech. 6:13). That plan rolled into action as, under divine instruction, Adam cut the throat of the first sacrificial lamb that pointed toward the coming Saviour.
Throughout history, God has continually used innovative methods to accomplish His purposes. As the earth teemed with wickedness, God, rather than destroy the entire human race, told Noah to build an ark—something never seen before—to save as many as were willing from the coming deluge.
As wickedness began to rise again, once more God intervened— this time by creating multiple languages, leading people to scatter across the earth.
To ensure His plan of salvation would move forward, God promised Abraham He would raise up a nation through him, even though he was “as good as dead” (Heb. 11:12). When Abraham and Sarah decided to innovate outside of God’s plan, the results were disastrous, but once God was allowed to work, success followed.
When nine brothers, sons of Jacob, filled with hatred and jealousy, sold their younger brother, Joseph, into slavery, God’s innovative plan took what was meant for evil and turned it into something good (see Gen. 50:20). Later, as a new Pharaoh sought to wipe out God’s people, God intervened through an innovative yet simple means—a baby in a floating basket.
The list goes on: water from a rock; walls crumbling by simply marching around them; a giant slain by stone and sling; a prophet fed by ravens; a military officer’s leprosy cured by dipping into a muddy river; a powerful king converted after seven years of roaming like a beast. These are but a few of God’s amazing ways.
THE HEIGHT OF INNOVATION
Then the height of innovation: a Baby, placed in a humble manger; later nailed to a cross to save a race—the human race—that did not know Him.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11). But praise God, the passage continues: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (verses 12, 13).
Through the new birth offered through God’s innovative plan, God promises to give us power to become “children of God.” Amazing!
Before ascending to heaven, Jesus promised His disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit, promising power to be witnesses “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Once this gift was received, Christ’s followers turned “the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).
SEEKING METHODS FOR TODAY
God still works today through innovative means, sometimes in spectacular ways, but often through very simple methods: a knock on the door; a genuine smile; a healing touch; a warm meal; a caring message; an interesting Bible study; a deep conversation; a listening ear. God’s means are limitless. The only limit He has is our willingness to go—to be His hands, His feet, to “go . . . make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19, 20).
As we seek to find various effective ways of reaching people for Christ, it is encouraging to note this counsel given by Ellen White:
“One must not labor to have everything that comes from his mind entirely different from that which comes from another man’s mind. But he is to follow in the line where the Spirit of the Lord shall direct; then there will be different figures and different ways of presentation, that will interest and educate different minds.”¹
“Some are always straining to get something original. This places them in great danger. They produce something new that is not according to the Word of God, and they have not the discernment to see the real harm that results from their ambition to excel some other one in new and strange productions. Thus error comes to appear to them as truth, and they present it as wonderful new light, when it is an innovation that makes of none effect a ‘Thus saith the Lord.’
“Let all be under the controlling influence of the Holy Spirit of God. Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, one may use the same expressions used by a fellow worker under the same guidance. He should not make an effort to do this, or not to do it, but leave the mind to be acted upon by the Holy Spirit. There is one thing all should do: Endeavor ‘to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’ [Ephesians 4:3].”²
The ability to create, to innovate, is a wonderful gift God has given to human beings. It illustrates an important aspect of what it means to be “created in the image of God.” When this beautiful gift is surrendered to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, there is no limit to what God can and will do through His church in Total Member Involvement during these last days of earth’s history.
¹ Ellen G. White, The Publishing Ministry (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1983), p. 100. ² Ibid., p. 102.
President of the Worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church •
Ted N. C. Wilson is president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church. Additional articles and commentaries are available from the president’s office on Twitter: @pastortedwilson and on Facebook: @Pastor Ted Wilson.