Art and Balance

Ecclesiastes 9:11
We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can
do the good things He planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10).

Organizers call it a “radically open art competition.”
It’s also highly democratic. ArtPrize lures artists
to my hometown with the possibility of winning
substantial cash—if the attendees like what you create. Art
aficionados can wander past hundreds of exhibits scattered
throughout the city, but they can vote for only one.
Many of the works are awe-inspiring. An elaborate,
multicolored ice sculpture took 9 months to create. A
pencil drawing of cavalry soldiers appears so realistic,
it’s almost indistinguishable from a photograph. (It was
later judged to be the contest’s grand prize winner!)

My favorite is a sculpture fashioned from a massive
tangle of tree roots. The weathered face of an old man
extends into branches that twist into shapes of animals.

So much talent should be rewarded. Yet the creators
of the vast majority of these entries will receive nothing.
Sadly, several exhibits have been the targets of
vandalism. “The skillful are not necessarily wealthy,” said
Solomon (Ecclesiastes 9:11). And “one sinner can destroy
much that is good” (v.18).

Thankfully, the earthbound view of Ecclesiastes is
not the end of God’s story. If we took such an attitude,
we might grow frustrated in the face of deliberate
destruction. On the other hand, if we believe that this
world is of no consequence at all, we might think that art
is a waste of time.

God designed us in His image. When we create artwork, we emulate our
Creator. It’s a twisted soul who defaces beautiful art—destroying the work of
another for no reason. Such acts are evil.

One day, God will make “everything new” (Revelation 21:5). Until then, let’s
enjoy using our creative abilities for His glory. It’s good—and godlike—to enjoy
art for art’s sake.

—Tim Gustafson

Check out Exodus 35:30-35 to catch a glimpse of God’s views
on art and creativity. Read Ephesians 2:8-10 and ponder how you are
God’s work of art.

Is your day-to-day philosophy earthbound? Or could your attitudes
be too “heavenly”? How can you strike a balance of living in the world and
following Jesus?