Lessons from Gingerbread

Posted: December 3, 2019 in Thoughts on art ministry and life
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I have a guilty pleasure. I really like to watch some of these holiday cooking shows on the Food Network. No, not the ones where the people make sumptuous recipes. That stuff is beyond me. What I love are the shows where the people compete to make cakes and other things that are decorative. Last night, for example I was watching a show where the contestants made gingerbread creations. They had a relatively short period of time to complete their creations, they had to be at least three feet tall, etc. These pieces were huge and amazing, they were true works of art, but I noticed something.

There was one guy who actually included robotics to create an animated show in the midst of his creation. It was brilliant but he didn’t win and there is a lesson we can learn from this. The person who won did an immaculate presentation. There were fewer bells and whistles, at least of the “animated” kind, instead every part of her piece was flawless, the attention to detail was phenomenal, her piece was a thing of beauty. By way of contrast, the guy with the bells and whistles spent so much time on the bells and whistles that there wasn’t time for him to make his creation beautiful.

The lesson to be learned is this. When you have a time limit, you have to focus on what is most important. Bells and whistles are great when you have time for them, but the first step is to get the basics right. The guy with the technology had a really cool and creative idea, and I have no doubt given more time to execute his idea, could have created something pretty amazing but the person who did flawless work and managed her time properly won the day. There were several boundaries in place here, chief of which were a time limit and a theme. Boundaries are our friends. It doesn’t matter what you could do with unlimited time, if there is a time limit, you have to work within the time limit.

Boundaries let us know our limitations. Working within the boundaries requires us to be even more creative and show us the path to success. We need to learn to create within given parameters, deliver what is asked of us, over deliver as much as we can, and deliver on time.

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