Recently, as I was trying to get a handle on the concept of the “love of money” being the “root of all evil,” I naturally turned to these Scriptures:
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. – 1 Timothy 6:7-10
As I was pondering how common it is for people to be lured into money worship in our society, and to place the love of money before the love of God, it suddenly dawned on me that I know plenty of “starving Artists” who place the love of Art before the love of God, and even before the love of money — otherwise they wouldn’t be starving. This bothered me for a bit. Where in the Bible is this dynamic addressed? On the one hand, it seems rather noble to let yourself starve for the sake of something you love. On the other hand, one doesn’t generally accomplish great things on an empty stomach; and no having starved to death accomplishes anything at all.
Then it dawned on me that the Bible does indeed address this dynamic. For the Artist intent on creating some great work of Art is in essence no different from an architect building a house, or a homemaker creating a home, or any other person trying to achieve the completion of a project through which one hopes to find fulfillment in life.
By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures.
– Proverbs 24:3-4
There is a right way and a wrong way to go about anything. The right way is the wise way; and it is not wise to prioritize the creation over the basic needs of the person attempting to create it. In Art, this would be true of a piece of any content, whether its purpose is to glorify God or not. If the Artist intends to glorify God, then it is also unwise to prioritize the creation over the Creator.
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. – Psalm 127:1
Whatever it is that I am personally trying to accomplish, I would be wise to hearken to the words of Jesus:
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. – Matthew 7:24-27
Why build my house on the shifting sand, only to watch it collapse come rainfall? Far better to build my house on the Rock — and the Rock is Christ.