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The Christian Palette, Issue #007 -- Serving Whom?
July 17, 2015
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I asked myself this morning, as I read 2 Chr 12, whether I truly appreciated the difference between serving God and serving the other “kings” who rule our world.
I share these thoughts because Rehoboam's story convicted me! I need to remind myself constantly who I serve. It is my hope that what I write here will remind you too.
Image above from http://amazingbibletimeline.com/blog/rehoboam-son-of-solomon/
2 Chr 12 is a fascinating account of Rehoboam, who grew secure in his position of power and abandoned God, a mere five years into his reign as king. As a result God turned the nation over to King Shishak of Egypt. When confronted by the prophet Shemaiah with a raw indictment of his sin, he and his people, humbled themselves before God in repentance.
"When the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, this word of the LORD came to Shemaiah: “Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them but will soon give them deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak.
They will, however, become subject to him, so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands.”2Chr 12:7,8
Serving God or serving other kings: what could the difference be for artists?
It’s quite simple really. When we choose God over every other king, we become candidates for the blessings promised in the Bible. We ought to know that, but do we create art like we do?
On the other hand, every other king we bow our knee to will eventually rob us.
The first thing that the King Shishak did was to rob them of their treasures. God provided the wealth that the enemy coveted and eventually stole, wiping them completely clean.
With God lies the liberty to love, laugh, create, sing, worship and enjoy a blessed life. Bowing our knee to other kings will enslave us forcing us to lose our autonomy, which lies at the heart of creative freedom.
As artists, there is much that tugs at us, begging for our attention in terms of choices. What do we paint? Where do we show our art? What will sell? What is popular? What sold the other day? What are the current trends, the colors of the season…?
Who are the other kings who want us as subjects?
I thought it kind of fun to personify a few "kings"! It's a little corny but it helps me remember, so here goes.
King Fame is embodied by our craving for recognition. He will rob us of our humility and the recognition that our best ideas amount to little compared to the brilliance and creativity of our Father, the source of all our gifts. Without God, we are nothing and can do nothing. We run the risk of eventually turning into arrogant scoffers who ask “Who is God..?"The Bible has plenty of choice words of warning about them!
King Sale pushes us to compromise to satisfy our desire for “The Sale". Submitting to him will make us destitute. I remind myself to beware of the inflated hype of all sorts of marketing, trend chasing and compromise. King Sale will leave us empty, since meaningful creativity will elude us. No longer will we hear the voice of God calling us to the joy of sacred communion with Him. No longer will our work hold the potential to be a reflection of His voice in the earth, created in response to our conversations with Him. Run, friend, from this King. He is deadly!
King Style is far more subtle. He is the epitome of taste, pushing us to copy and imitate in order to acquire a style that is current, fashionable, and of course, completely bland. When he is through with us, we will be indistinguishable from his other subjects. King Style-for-the-sake-of-style will stifle our unique voice, choking any God breathed ideas that require courage to be birthed.
So I force myself to ask, "Lord, what would you like me to work on today? I choose to serve you with whatever skill you've blessed me with, and at whatever level I am".
I have no doubt that making that choice will keep me focused, producing work that is pleasing in His eyes. Help me, Lord, to turn a blind eye to the everything else.
May you do the same.
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