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The Christian Palette, Issue #008 -- The Lasting Imprint
July 31, 2015
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The Lasting Imprint
A Roman soldier from the first century AD on a casual stroll around Hippo (a town that Jesus would have visited) would never have imagined that his footprint would cause a stir two thousand years later! Clad in strappy, leather Roman sandals called cagilae, his iron hobnailed sole created a lasting imprint on the damp mortar of a bastion wall before it had a chance to cure.
Image above from http://www.livescience.com/9528-roman-soldier-footprint-reveals-clues-ancient-city.html
Much to the delight of archaeologists, the footprint indicated 29 iron nails in the pattern of the sole, somewhat similar to a cagila sole discovered in Britain, continents away and centuries later in the 19th century. That one only had 28 nails. Yet the similarity indicated the rigorous standards that were maintained for army issued footwear by the Roman empire. It’s fascinating that a footprint can hint at so many clues about the soldier, from the obvious, like his shoe size, to the probable, like his height, his reasons for being in that location…
What imprint will we leave behind?
If you feel insignificant, as I do a lot of the time, then consider this - if a foot print can leave a lasting imprint, what could something your hands created do, with God's help?
Of course, this discovery was almost accidental. It is unlikely that the solider had any idea that the pattern of his sole would be examined as minutely as it has been, or that it would make headlines two thousand years later!
We, however, have promises in the Bible that we will leave a lasting imprint, when we trust Him. God has ordained works specifically for us. Would it not be reasonable then to assume that He will ensure that they leave as long lasting an imprint as necessary to fulfill His purpose for them?
That does not necessarily mean that your work will find fame, but it does mean that, if you trust God, He will find a way to bless another with it. You may never see the impact of your faithfulness. Paul never knew when he was martyred the power of his life and words for generations to come!
"God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized." Heb 6:10,11
Can our art leave a lasting imprint?
When I was just beginning my journey with the Lord, I was delighted to learn the meaning of the Greek word for "work" used in the verse above. Understanding it was a magical moment for me! It helped me rest in the concept that the creation of art was valid in His eyes. It was worthy work, not trivial or insignificant.
It is not unusual that I would crave assurance. After all, at the time there was no one else (that I was aware of) who was mulling over whether the pursuit of art was selfish, foolish or vain. I knew of no contemporary churches at the time that encouraged art. Was it possible to glorify God with it? I had to know. Did God approve? It meant a lot to me, and I suspect it will for most of you reading this. I wanted to be reassured that my pleasure in creative pursuits was pleasing to Him too!
Now, of course, it is wonderful to know that there are hundreds of Christian artists who are all engaged in this pursuit. We all still struggle a bit with it, but are certainly far more confident of it than we have ever been!
Hopefully, this website has helped a little and for those of you who have not yet read the book, Gently Awakened, I pray that you will take the time to do so in order to find the encouragement that others have found from it.
Work, for the night is coming!
Discovering the meaning of the Greek word, “ergon” used for "work", helped give me a quiet confidence that engaging in art was not to be a guilty pastime, but something of worth in His eyes. When I trust God and create art, He considers them to be “good works”.“Ergon” also means “business, employment or that with which anyone is occupied”, according to Thayer's Greek Lexicon. Even better, it means “any product whatever, any thing accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind”!
If God values my working and maintaining a working habit, then why should I care if others do, or don’t? God also assures me that staying faithful to the task is profitable, both for me and for others who may interact with my work.
"This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men." Tit 3:8
I trust that you too will rest assured that being a Christian Artist has the potential to leave a lasting imprint, if we stay faithful and refuse to quit.
The Shunamite Woman
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