February 11, 2008 Ration

II Corinthians 2:17

“For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak.”

A peddler is one who uses a theme or an object as the means of acquiring some other object or desire. The peddler’s motivation in putting forth the first object is in the hope that his greater desires could then be realized. A peddler does not so much love the object that he peddles, rather, he loves what he gets through peddling.

A man of sincerity truly loves what he brings to the table. True, a peddler can truly love what he brings to the table, it’s just that he loves something else more. But a man of sincerity is not willing to trade what he loves for another love. No, he is motivated to share what he loves so that others could enjoy what he has found to be so enjoyable. This transaction stems from a motive that a peddler does not employ.

Two completely different motives are presented here between the “peddling man” and the “sincere man.” Discerning these differences in motive is what we must flesh out if we are to see where we might be peddlers of the word of God in the arts. The reality of the involvement of money in life is not the point here, as money is not a motive but an object. Paul himself is sent around the world by the means of others’ money. But where the motive for speaking out is really fueled by the acquisition of the object money, a peddler of the word of God is found.

Paul says that there are many who are using the word of God to satisfy some other desire of their heart. Do they desire the attention that Paul receives? Maybe. Do they desire the beatings that Paul receives? Probably not. Might there be a way to enjoy the attention without the beatings? Absolutely, neuter the word of God! Many play with the word to get something else. Many trade the word for some other pleasure. Many peddle the word of God!

Artist, what is the affection of your heart where God is the theme of your art? Where your heart is motivated to peddle, then you will have your reward in what you’ve bartered God’s word for. Is this not the very same thing that Jesus said about those who stand on the corners to be heard uttering long and majestic prayers? Their hope is to be seen and regarded by others as being spiritual or something, and so they employ the theme of “God” as the currency for purchasing the praises of men. Jesus says of them, “they have their reward in full” (Matthew 6:5). These guys are peddlers, and Paul is not like them.

Paul’s hope for enjoyment is not set on something other than the word of God, his enjoyment is the Word of God and the various fruit that it bears! And as Paul is loving and enjoying the word of God, God commissions him to share the word of God with others that they could enjoy the fruit of God’s word themselves. Now we know that Paul’s claim of sincerity here is not just another trick or pose out of the peddler’s bag because he says, “…in the sight of God we speak.” We may be able to conceal the motives of our hearts from the most discerning of men, but we cannot fool God who discloses the secrets of every man’s heart. Paul knows this! Do you know this, artist? You and I may be able to appear sincere, but God knows full well when we peddle.

Oh God, help us, forgive us where we use you as a theme, trade you as an object, barter you as a currency for all manner of lesser pleasures and praises of men! Give us hearts that love your word and are motivated in our artistic expressing to share what we have been served by you! This is the only way that we will ever know and enjoy the full pleasures of the Father in what He has skilled us with and commissioned us to in the arts.

Artist, be not like so many, peddlers of God’s word!

Jason Harms


© 2008 The Gaius Project