I recently attended the Catalyst leadership conference in Atlanta, GA and was challenged with a number of different thoughts and ideas that have begun to reshape the way I think about the world. There were a number of amazing and inspiring speakers who tried to push the minds and spirits of the 15,000 attendees. One speaker talked about an issue that really challenged the way I view my ministry and the opportunities that I have in life to make an impact. This speaker was Seth Godin, who is a world renowned author, blogger, and entrepreneur. He has written a dozen best selling books and has also spent time as the VP of Direct Marketing for a little company called “Yahoo!” Needless to say, the guy knows what he is talking about.
The thought that he really challenged me with was the difference between creating “art” and creating a “painting.” He stated that there is a big difference between a work of art and someone painting a picture. There is a city in China that accounts for one-third of the worlds production of paintings. There are painters who make 10 Mona Lisa paintings every day and turn around and sell them for $40-$60. He challenged us with the question of whether or not these paintings created in the masses are “art” or merely just a painting. The answer was fairly obvious. They are simply just paintings. So I started to think about that concept an how it plays into my life and my ministry. What is the difference between the two? And does that difference really make a difference? In the end you get the same beautiful painting that everyone recognizes. So what does it matter? But then it hit me. And it was the idea of taking a risk, putting something on the line, and chancing the fact that you might fail if you try to create “art” rather than just a painting. What I realized is that the difference between the two actually make all the difference.
Is anything really worth doing if there isn’t a chance that you will fail at doing it? If you think about it that is really what separates our lives from being more than a production line or a computer. We have the chance to make “art” not just a “painting”. We have the chance to make a difference and connect people when we make “art” with our lives. A piece of art is something new, something fresh, something that inspires people because it is ground breaking. But simply making a “painting” is just complying to the mold that this world and the people in it have already made. That mold is acceptable and it has a very minimal chance of failure. And even if you do fail, it isn’t that big of a deal because you didn’t create enough change for anyone to really care either way. There is no risk. But if we break the mold and dare to make something new, something that makes everyone question what else is possible in the world, we are on an entirely different level. It causes people to ask themselves, “If that person can create something like that, what else is possible?” This is the beauty and excitement of someone who pushes the envelope, someone that dares to succeed with the possibility of failure, who creates, inspires, and causes change.
God never once called us to be mediocre Christians. He called us to be world changers, disciple makers, and risk takers. Paul stated that we are "more than conquerors" because there is nothing in this world that can separate us from the love of God. Can you imagine what the world would look like if Christians took risks to create “art” with their lives rather than just regurgitating a painting of what they have seen before? It is nearly impossible to measure the amount of change and inspiration a piece of art causes on the world. When one person creates something, it inspires and motivates others to look at the other possibilities that are out there in the world. It challenges others to think, “I wonder what I can create? I wonder what kind of difference I can really make if I just took a risk?” We need people in this world who will bring change, even if it means that they will fail. Without the possibility of failure, change cannot happen, because nothing is being challenged. The thing about art is that it is a human act that changes something. It connects people together.
The conclusion that I want to draw out of this is that it is about time that we start creating art with our lives. God doesn’t need people to just stick the the status-quo and just be average. He needs people to step up and go after an idea or an opportunity with so much passion and focus that the thought of failure isn’t a deterrent, it is an inspiration to succeed. God needs those who care enough to take a risk with their lives and impact the world with ideas and passions that will never leave it the same as it was before. Let us ask God to give us the opportunity and direction to create “art” with our lives starting right now.