The Artist

12 09 2010

The Artist

Once upon a time there was an artist, a young man who was a Christian. Being a godly young man he prayed, “Lord, take me and use my work to glorify your name.” Day in, day out, month in, month out, he laboured at his art and people came from far and wide to see the young man’s work. His works of art weren’t about spiritual things but he believed they honoured his Lord who was the creator of all things.

One day he wondered how he might yet reveal his master more clearly to the world and so started to develop spiritual themes in his work. He sometimes added texts to his work to clarify even more the purpose of his creations. His works sold well and his name became very famous, yet, as the years passed, within he had a sense of frustration that somehow there was a goal that he was missing.

One day when he was alone in his studio working on his latest work, early in the morning before most visitors came, a young woman quietly entered and walked around the gallery looking at the works. Unusually the middle-aged artist stopped his work and watched her. “Do you like what you see?” he asked. “Like isn’t the right word,” she replied, “I am moved by what I see.”  He walked over to where she was standing and saw tears running down her face. “What is the matter?” he asked gently. “Your pictures are so beautiful but they reveal the ugliness of my life,” she answered. Together they talked for a while and eventually he explained how his Lord had come to take our ugliness, and a light seemed to come on in the face of the soulful woman. She left hastily. He returned to his work and thought, “I must catch up; I have wasted time this morning.”

Another day a similar thing happened but this time it was an elderly man. Again a conversation ensued and again the artist shared his faith. At the end of the conversation the elderly man asked, “Would you pray for me?” The artist was startled; he was an artist, not a priest, yet he honoured the old man’s request and simply asked his Lord to help this man in his dark years. When he finished praying, there was a look of peace on the face of the elderly man.

Many year later, outside of time, the artist stood with his Lord in a great gallery in heaven and shared how he had never felt that he had reached the peak of his ability. “Lord, I sought to honour you with my paintings and I sought to improve my work, yet I never had a sense of having achieved that. I wanted to glorify you with the gift that you gave me but I never felt that my painting truly did that.”

There was a smile on the face of the one who stood beside him. “My son, your works were merely the means that I used to attract people to you. It was not your paintings that I used to bring glory to heaven. Come see.” And he led the artist through an archway that opened out onto a balcony overlooking a beautiful room full of people all talking animatedly.

“Who are these, Lord?” the artist found himself asking. “They are the people you stopped and talked to. The ones you gave time to, gave a word to, and prayed for. All these ones found me through you. It was not your paintings but you who glorified me.” And tears of joy ran down the face of the artist who now understood.

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