“He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labour, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.” – Ephesians 4:28
A Stolen Purpose
There is a beauty to be found in doing what you’re made for; in devoting time and energy to something that brings about a new experience or object, a thing to be shared and that reveals even the tiniest part of the awesome character of God.
Yet there are occasions when the amazing plans and designs of God are corrupted, distracted from their function, and their purpose is stolen from them.
Psalm 19:1 tells us that “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands”… I wonder if anyone has ever told that to newspaper psychics and horoscope writers, who tell thousands, maybe millions, of readers the disasters that will befall them over the course of the next 24 hours, or the way in which their love life is going to progress, all divined, apparently, from observing the heavens. Where did the universe go so wrong that we now look up to the sky and see not the wondrous God we serve but instead we seek direction from planetary movements and characters from Greek and Egyptian myths?
The same seems to have happened in many cases with art. Whatever its form, art has the power to convey any range of ideas. I have seen amazing work that has spoken to me of the power and glory of God, but I’ve also found so many creative works that are solely designed to destroy the image of the God who originally thought of them. When was its purpose stolen?
Gifted For Glory
The first account we have of God directly giving any form of spiritual gift is found in Exodus. After sharing instructions for His designs for the Tabernacle we’re told of a command that God makes; that “every skilful person in whom the Lord has put skill and understanding to know how to perform all the work in the construction of the sanctuary, shall perform in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded.”
God gifted artists and designers to build a dwelling place for Him, to construct somewhere in which His glory could rest and He could be worshipped. The middle part of this passage teaches us something beautiful about the purpose of art, that it is to be used in the building of a sanctuary, a place for people to seek God and hear from him.
Creativity can be used to create an environment where God is present, where we can seek Him, worship Him and where those in need can be supported, encouraged and built up. It is to be shared, to declare His beauty and power. That is the stolen purpose of art. What you were made for.
So let art tell of the glory of God, let creativity declare the work of His hands. Whether you are a painter, writer, musician, cinematographer, photographer or random scribbler, let that which you create speak of the one you love, the one who inspired all you make and He to whom all the glory is given. Our glorious God.