July 8-14 - "What Wilt Thou Have Me to Do?"
Colby Sanford (American, born 1991)
acrylic, 48 x 40 inches
Collection of Tim and Kristin Whipple
Used with permission of the artist
In the book of Exodus, a master artisan named Bezalel was commissioned with an assistant, Aholiab, to create the Ark of the Covenant, the Tabernacle, sacred items, and vestments. The Bible notes, speaking of the artisans: “And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work…. Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work (Exodus 31:31-33, 35). This is an instance of scripture that points to God inspiring artists. Dating back to at least 600 B.C. in ancient Greece, artists have used the vocabulary of invoking a muse for their creative inspiration, as well.
For many Latter-day Saint artists, seeking inspiration and personal revelation as it applies to their creative work is not merely a poetic conceit but a professional tool. Artist Colby Sanford writes, “I believe that inspiration is readily and abundantly available. This is proven to me time and time again whenever I sit, am still, and awake to myself. The real struggle and miracle comes when I have the resolve to act on ideas that present themselves. Half the battle of action is believing in an idea. Why do I naturally mistrust ideas that come from within? Perhaps it is lack of outside validation, perhaps it is because I have been wrong in the past, perhaps I don’t believe my ability to connect with godly power. A solution for me has been to plan out sections of time to write my thoughts as they come—it helps me to trust them. I often begin with mundane ideas about my tiredness or stress. As I write, I dig into those surface concerns and find real solace and insight into who I am and what I need to do. When I see words in front of me, they are concrete, tangible—almost as if given to me by an outside source. The painting Inspiration (2015) came as a reflection of this process.”
1. Former General Relief Society President Julie B. Beck explained, "The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life... It requires a conscious effort to diminish distractions, but having the Spirit of revelation makes it possible to prevail over opposition and persist in faith through difficult days and essential routine tasks.… We can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when we feel the Spirit working through us” (“And upon the Handmaids in Those Days Will I Pour Out My Spirit,” Ensign, May 2010, 11–12). What are you doing to increase your ability to receive personal revelation?
2. How have you felt prompted by the Holy Ghost in your efforts to lift the burdens of another?
3. How would you describe the ways that you have felt the inspiration of the Holy Ghost in your life to someone else to help him/her recognize the influence of the Spirit in his/her life?