As artists, we love art. We love going to concerts, exhibitions, reading books, listening to music. Having created our own art, we are aware of the thought processes and techniques that often lie behind art created by others - so we are equipped with analytical tools that allow us to carefully critique and experience art in great depth. We love immersing ourselves in the creative realm of life.
Then there is the art we create. When you are in the middle of creating, the energy is flowing, the momentum is building, and you know something great is lying just over the horizon, the feeling is amazing. It is truly enjoyable. It's exciting. It brings a thrill and a natural high like nothing else. And it often brings those who are creating together in a truly unique way. Seeing the piece of art finally completed is the ultimate reward - and seeing it being appreciated by others is an added bonus. Over the course of our lives, we long to create a body of work - our 'life's work' - that will say something about us, and capture the imagination of others.
Of course, art and creating can be all-consuming. Art often engages our senses in a way that other things in life don't. It can seem like our whole being is being channelled into experiencing or creating that piece of art. It's often that very focus and attention to the smallest of details that makes experiencing art so enjoyable, and creating art so rewarding.
But the thing is, art can take over. The pursuit of excellence in creating can fill every little gap in our minds so that there is no room left for other things. Even the pursuit of experiencing art can do the same - we go to so many concerts, read so many books, listen to so many albums, that we have no headspace left for other things. Relationships slip down the list of priorities. Bible reading and prayer time suffers.
Without realising it, by sheer virtue of the amount of time and headspace we dedicate to art, we find ourselves worshipping creation, and not the Creator. We would not go so far as to deny God - we still deeply desire to follow him and serve him. It's just that by filling our minds with so much other stuff, we have, in reality, neglected him.
In 'Art and the Bible', Francis Schaeffer challenges us to think differently. He writes: "... there is a very real sense in which the Christian life itself should be our greatest work of art. Even for the great artist, the most crucial work of art is his life." (p49).
And of course our lives are to be viewed not just as a work of art, but as an act of worship. As the Apostle Paul writes - we are to offer our bodies as "living sacrifices" to God as our "spiritual act of worship" (Romans 12:1).
Certainly, art and creating are wonderful gifts from God, the one true Creator. Seeking to create a body of artwork throughout our life is a great thing. But what will we prioritise each day? Will we prioritise creating our 'life's work' in art? Or will we humbly acknowledge that as we seek to follow Jesus, our 'life's work' should quite literally be a lifetime of work on our life itself? Will our life's work - work that says something about who we worship, who we are, and captures the imagination of others - actually be our life itself?