Silver and Fry

By: Pastor Jarren Rogers

Sometimes, we can be blind to the creative because we are attracted to the mundane.

Spencer Silver understood this because he lived it. In 1968, Silver worked for 3M and was assigned the task of creating an ultra-strong adhesive that could be used for airplane construction. Silver failed in his search for this industrial grade glue and instead stumbled upon an adhesive that could cling to a surface but also be easily removed.

Silver knew that his newfound glue could have some kind of real-world application, but he couldn’t figure out how best to use it. He paraded his glue around the offices of 3M showing the administration his discovery and inviting them to dream with him of ways in which it could be used. But no one listened. No one at 3M could think of any practical use for such a glue. So, they showed Silver the door and his glue sat unused for years.

But, in 1973, a man named Arthur Fry sat in on a seminar in which Silver presented his glue. Silver explained that he had yet to find a way to apply it. It wasn’t until later that Fry found the answer to Silver’s 5-year question.
Fry was in choir practice. In the past, he used torn pieces of paper to mark the pages in his hymnal, but he would grow frustrated when the paper would come loose and fall out. If only there was a way for the papers to stick to the hymnal without damaging the page when torn away.

That was it! And with Silver’s glue and Fry’s idea, Post-It Notes were born.
The faculty at 3M were blinded to the creative possibilities of Silver’s glue. Who needed a glue that doesn’t really stick? What use is that? But Fry caught the creativity bug and one of the most essential office supplies was born.

We serve a creative God. He loves to mix things up and try new things. I think his proclamation in Isaiah exemplifies His motives when working in the world:

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).

He is always doing new things! But the question is, do you see it?
Like Spencer Silver in the offices of 3M, God is parading around our lives and our household, our schools, and workplaces, and He’s ready to do a new thing! But, too often, we can be blinded by the mundane. We grow content with where we are and what we’re doing. We want to do things the way we’ve always done it, and yet God wants us to do something creative.
God’s desire for us is to be like Fry. To begin to dream and imagine with Him. To see the divine potential that is waiting to be unlocked in the places we live. He wants us to catch His creativity bug and join Him in His newness work!

We serve a creative God who wants His Kingdom ushered in by a creative people.

Think about this: Beginning a nation from an elderly couple who can’t have kids? That’s creative. Making a spiritual leader out of Christianity’s greatest enemy? That’s creative. Coming to earth in human form and suffering for the sake of humanity? That’s creative.

We have to open our eyes to the creativity of a God that is continually at work in the lives of you and me.

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