Meanderings “Having gifts…let us use them.”

(Painting titled “Pots of Clay” inspired by 2 Corinthians 4:7, painted to be used to illustrate a sermon at my church.)

“Having gifts…let us use them.” (Romans 12:3-8)

I am humbled and also contemplating my calling as a Christian artist/leader. Here’s why; I received a message from a friend. She was thanking me for encouraging her to show her art work in a recent art show I organize at my church.  Frankly, I was surprised and humbled by her acknowledgement and appreciation.  The reason for my surprise is because my desire to encourage, teach, and help Christian artists to share their gifts is a calling from God done out of my effort towards obedience.  Just like much of the artwork that God inspires and allows me to create. It is part of my calling as a Christian artist. Therefore, in creating art and encouraging other artists, I am turning this calling into an act of obedience to God. My goal and prayer is that all my work and efforts would be motivated by my desire to please God and give Him glory.  That is why, when someone thanks or credits me for encouraging them to share their art, I am humbled.

This striving towards obedience is also my motivation for organizing opportunities for Christian artists to display their creations.  As Christian artists we are called to create things that give glory to the original creator, the one that taught us and continues to teach us to create.  If you are an artist and a Christian, what motivates you to create and show your art?  Do you attend a church that supports and encourages creative types to use their unique gifts? Are people at your church given opportunities to use their creative and unique gifts as part of worship and other events? Scripture teaches us, “For as in one body we have many members and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ,” (Romans 12:4). Therefore, if you are a leader in your church, do you look for, welcome, and encourage artists that exist within your membership?  Does your church provide opportunities for artists that work outside the traditional and expected art forms (i.e. music and liturgical arts) to use their God given gifts?  1 Peter 4:10-11 is very clear about how this should work.  “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace; whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

If you are a Christian artist are you taking time to encourage other creatives to use their gifts as a way to give glory to God?  Let’s go back to scripture to learn what Jesus has to say about this unique mission for His people. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:14-16)  So friends, “encourage each another every day, while you still have something called ‘today’.  Help each other so that none of you will be fooled by sin and become too hard to change.” (Hebrews 3:13 ERV)

So this is why I am humbled and contemplative today. These are some of the questions and thoughts that my friend’s message brought to my mind.  We are all called…no commanded…to support, encourage, teach, and help others to shine their light for God’s glory.  This is our Holy calling.