Last week I had the sweet opportunity to watch an artist friend of mine paint live at our church's First Wednesday service. Normally if there is an artist painting it's me painting, so what a privilege it was to sit and watch Carrie paint. As I was watching, worshiping and taking inventory of my soul I was sweetly nudged to examine the shift in my heart when it comes to art like mine...not even sure that's the right way to say it, but what I do know is that I've grown. A few years ago, or depending on my attitude a few weeks ago, My first instinct if I saw someone painting in worship especially at "my" church- I would have felt threatened. Why am I not the one painting. Shouldn't they have asked me to paint? That is the nasty, honest, truth. First of all, it's not MY church it's God's church and I am just a small part of it. Second of all, I have no right to any position or claim in service or leadership- only in the place he chooses to put me. And it is an issue of my heart to be content where He's placed me in the season I'm in. Lastly, I am not the only artist at our church of 10,000 and frankly there have been many artists at Seacoast, including Carrie who were using their gifts for God long before I came along.
Have you ever felt that way about your craft? Threatened by another artist or creative making a living at their work or simply using their gifts to worship God... "their art sort of looks like mine", or "I've done that same thing and not had the success he or she has had". Why do we feel that way? Why is jealousy and envy our default? The short answer is- because we are sinners, we are flawed, Romans 7:18 says,
"For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out."
That is the truth, but to dig into it, the truth behind God's character is this- God is a God of abundance. Not just in the arts and creativity but in all areas. There is enough room for everyone at the table. God can never receive "enough" worship. he is so great and mighty we could never give him enough praise or honor that he would say, "sorry, you can't use your gifts for me anymore, there's just no more room". I also know that God is able to use our gifts for Him in a way that we can't even imagine.
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us"
Which is why it's so important to hold what we've been given with an open hand, sharing it with others as God leads. And if someone is serving in "your place" or doing what you do...isn't God big enough to lead you to a new place, a deeper place, or make room for both of you sharing in a similar ministry. God IS big enough. There IS enough room. We may feel ownership over what we've been given- but it's not ownership it's actually stewardship- it belongs to him, all of it. Our job is to take care of it as long as it's ours and to hold it always with an open hand. Freely we receive, freely give. God will continue to give as we give of ourselves and our gifts because that is just. his. character. He is the ultimate giver- never betraying himself so he will ALWAYS give.
Examine your heart.....
Allow God to shift your heart, rest in this as an artist, he will fight for you and make a place for you among his worshipers.