The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world and those who live in it (Psalm 24:1).
As many who believe in God affirm, “the gifts of God are for the people of God”.
The gifts of God, the grace of God (to use a term which usually connotes rligious association) comes in myriad ways, though – people, places, songs, music, happenings, things, varied resources. And the creative Spirit of God also moves persons to create things, to be creative we say.
We hear much about intellectual property rights today. Yes, it is very important that we give recognition and respect to the creators of those delightful things that are conceived in the human mind and fashioned by human hands. That is an honourable thing to do.
However, as we applaud and share in each other’s giftedness, we can improve on created stuff for we humans were meant for each other, to work with each other, to better each other. The gifts of God are for the common good.
The Dutch have shown us a thing or two. When we think of the Netherlands, we think of tulips, but these magnificent flowers did not originate here. They took them from the Ottoman Empire. The pretty Turkish things have been hybridised and stylised and charm our sights in shades and hues not known before.
They took the Chinese art of making ceramics and given us Delft Blauw (blue Delftware). Colonists of African parts, they improved on the African art of fabric painting and produce some of the highest quality African printed facbric available today. I know that the anthurium lilies that they got from my homeland Dominica have also come a long way.
“That’s wrong!” we’d say, if intellectual property rights were the thing of that day.
Don’t get me wrong. Give honour where honour is due; but let us also dare to believe that we can make a difference and improve on what has been given to us. Respect copyright and when you copy, copy rightly; leave your mark on the copy, and let your whole world, and not just you, be better off.
Give God the glory!