(I’m including the song “I Will Love You” to accompany this blog. Enjoy!)
This is the season of awards in the entertainment industry. Each year people in the music and movie industries gather to recognize the pinnacle achievements in their craft, determined by votes cast by members of their artistic associations. The ones who win these awards worked hard and sacrificed a lot to achieve the recognition they received. While there is nothing inherently wrong with admiring artistic excellence, the spectacle of these events can also create an unrealistic and untrue picture of what is really important in life. Glamorous lifestyles, fame, money, the approval of people (remember “You like me! You really like me”?), as well as the coveting and receiving of a statue as the symbol of achievement, are depicted as the primary treasures of life.
There is a dynamic balance in the life of the person who desires to worship God with all their heart, soul, mind, and being. On the one hand, we are created to do good works, creatively bearing fruit for God. As a Christian artist and writer, I’ve been given a God-given passion to write songs and compositions in and for Him and the people He has placed in my life. There is a rich history of creative people in the Bible. David in the Old Testament created beautiful songs that we call the Psalms. Solomon built a magnificent temple out of devotion to God. There are many more stories of women and men who, out of love for God, achieved amazing things for Him. The common thread in all these people was not their achievements but their passion for and commitment to God first and foremost in their lives. There are also untold stories of people who attempted or created great things for God that didn’t get any attention in this earthly realm. Their creative work also flowed out of an authentic, vital relationship with God, and I’m sure He loves them as much as He does the ones whose work was more recognized.
On the other hand, there is also an ever-present temptation to find our worth and value based on what we create, own, or achieve. When I was younger, I sometimes wished I could be on the big stage receiving an award for my work. In hindsight, I recognize this for what it really was: a form of idol worship. The misplacement of the value of my earthly achievements, lifestyle, and human approval over God’s worth in my life—and the value He has already given me in Jesus Christ—was wrong. Even as I have moved forward in God’s forgiveness, love, and grace, I also learned that what we do in this life isn’t nearly as important as the state of our heart and spiritual core. The reality is that our earthly success—or lack of it— does nothing to add or take away from our eternal value in the eyes of God. When we draw our worth from God, creative things can and do flow out of us. But when we turn our gaze on the perks of our work instead of God, we might gain the world but also lose our soul in the process.
I know many people who today are quietly doing amazing things for God in their life: taking care of a child or parent with medical issues; helping refugees get settled, educated, and fed; staffing hospitals in troubled areas of the world; advocating for people held captive in human sex trafficking, and more. Their passion flows out of their love for God and the people He has placed before them. They will probably never receive an award on television in front of millions of people. But I am more convinced than ever these faithful, hard-working, creative people will get a priceless reward that far outlasts any earthly award. I believe that someday they will hear the voice of their Redeemer ring throughout eternity:
“Well done, good and faithful servant.”
I pray that all of us who worship the one True God will desire these words above and beyond anything this world can offer.
God bless you!