Monday, May 27, 2013

Works of Art

All Artwork by Jon Seals & used with permission.
"The Builders"©

Recently, Yale Divinity School accepted a good friend of mine into their Master of Arts program, with a concentration in Religion and Visual Art. His artwork has always taken my mind to places unknown and led me to consider deeper, more profound thoughts.

As I admired one of his paintings, I thought about the time he spends before he puts the blank sheet of paper on his easel. The careful consideration of where to place the first stroke that begins the masterpiece. The various internal debates he must have while working with colors, shapes, lines, shadows, and most importantly, when to step back and declare it complete.

The artist is slow and methodical with each step because they know others will view it, critique it, and hopefully want to buy it and display it in their homes.

Life, it has been said, is a work of art.

I have always thought about that statement from a distant position. That is, I have always considered my life as one canvas, where I placed my first stroke years ago in my foolish young years. By the time I began to grasp life more deeply, I’d already messed up my painting so much that even Bob Ross couldn’t have recovered it.

As I spend my life trying to understand God, He has helped me alter my view of my canvas. While the silly and immature strokes of years past are there, I do not see my life as one large canvas—yet. Instead, every day He places a blank sheet on my easel and leaves me with choices that will determine what today’s art will look like. I can choose to ignore the critical nature of the day and let the paint fall where it may with no design, pattern, or beauty. Or I can choose to think carefully about the day by spending time with the Perfect Creator, ask Him where to place the first stroke and ask Him to plan the day for me. This way, at the end of the day, I can hand Him my artwork, wait for His response, and know that it is perfect.

Then one day, when this body stops moving and I have no more canvas left to paint, He and I will take the 30,000’ view of thousands of small works of art and it will make either one giant masterpiece or something to be discarded.

My friend impressed the right people to get into Yale with his artwork. I want to impress my heavenly Father, my Savior, and the Holy Spirit with my daily canvases that were woven together by Them in a manner I could not see until I reached that side of Heaven.

My past may be ugly. I will make stupid decisions today, tomorrow, and next week. But when I keep my thoughts on Jesus, and walk as He would have me walk, He turns ugly into beauty. 

Our life is a giant canvas that one day we will present to our Savior, Jesus Christ. It can be beautiful or it can be a disaster. Today you have a choice to paint with thought or toss away your choices as though they were meaningless. 

Question: Will God want to display your life's art in the halls of eternity?

“Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.”  Colossians 1:22