April 28, 2008 Ration

Romans 12:13a

“Contribute to the needs of the saints…”

What needs of the saints might the artists in the body be uniquely suited to be effective contributors to? The arts have often proved to be beneficial in providing the human soul with vision, comfort, conviction, motivation, exhortation, articulation, unification, rest, enjoyment, celebration, teaching, release, healing (my own body experienced this effect from the consumption of artistic pleasures this week: “a joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22), nourishment, information, understanding, wisdom, etc…

An artistic work often serves to bring people together where they are forced to put on a listening ear as they must be quiet and consider what is being told through the pleasurable artistry. In this way, if the artistry is clear, much truth can be absorbed that was not even being heard through all the battle flak of debate.

Artists, your work is cut out for you. Paul appeals to you to contribute to the needs of the saints! But put on your discernment cap here, because art itself will not satisfy anybody’s real need. Art itself is not the medicine for the soul, though many artists claim it to be. Art is more like the gelcap that presents the medicine pleasurably to the soul. The truth and grace and pleasure of God is the medicine the saints need. And praise God for His invention of gelcaps!

When God created artistic expression, He granted us tender, pleasurable methods for the nourishment of our needs alongside those necessary lancings and famines that our souls must endure from His hand. So when God reaches for artistic expression, one of His many delivery systems, to be used as His needle, be careful not to be duped to confuse the delivery system for the strength of the Deliverer! It was the Deliverer’s strong wisdom, compassion, and pleasure that invented this tender system to be one pleasurable applicator of His loving-kindness to mankind.

If you deny this, artists, by exchanging the glory of the Creator for that which He created (Romans 1:23), you will fail to call down the full grace of God for your soul’s need, though you eat of the common grace of God in His creation of artistic expression. Why employ the system in a way that produces diluted portions, distracting hallucinogens, deadly poisons, or even devoid placebos that only push the soul further towards an affections coma, when you could, from faith, administer a pure and full dose of grace for the complete liberation and everlasting joy of any who would have it?

Art is not magical. But God is all powerful, and extremely tender, in His creation of the fragile artist! When God has a grace for the needs of the saints through you, artist, then contribute with all your might and don’t stand in the way of God. You can heal the needs of no one on your own efforts. But through God, through the portion He gives you, and as you enjoy Him in it, God has much effectual provision for the needs of the saints through your artistic labors, so contribute! The saints are in need.

Jason Harms


© 2008 The Gaius Project