“A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.” This was the counsel of King Solomon, as chronicled in Proverbs 18:16. He would have experienced the truth of this proverb firsthand, given that his own God-given gift of wisdom brought him immense wealth and global renown. Today, it could be argued that we live in a world where people are increasingly appreciative of various art forms. As such, a gift in (or eye for) art could be one of the most powerful assets a Christian could possess today in achieving what we are here on earth to do: bring glory to God.
Seeing God in art
God’s final act of the initial process of creation was to make man in His own image and likeness. He then passed on to him the creative mandate to multiply and fill the earth, and to subdue it. The consequent fall of man was the beginning of so much darkness in the world, but that original mandate from God means that man has also been responsible for so much good ever since.
Advance in technology, beauty in music, the splendor of drawing and painting - all these are things that man has created. When we experience them, we have the same feeling as God did when He looked at His creation; “..and He saw that it was good.” God’s desire is for all this beauty to point us back to Him as the ultimate creator. Beautiful art prompts us to see, “This is good. God is good!”
Creating art as unto God
One of the most potent exhortations in the New Testament is by Paul to the church of the Colossians, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men…” This is a command of total faith, as it speaks to a heart that responds to that which is not seen.
For an artist, the default motivational factor for their application is recognition and appreciation of their work. However, God calls us not to abandon this drive, but rather to choose an even higher one - His glory. Undoubtedly, this is easier said than done. It would mean embracing our God-given calling and talent, regardless of whether we receive immediate rewards for it. Yet by faith, it carries the promise of the ultimate reward, which is shared glory with Him.
The German reformer Martin Luther famously said, “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” His motivation for life was driven by much more than the unfolding of events in the earth. So should ours be in creating and appreciating art. It should all point back to the glory of God.