September 21, 2009 Ration

I Samuel 25:23b

“…[Abigail] was discerning and beautiful…”

Are your works discerning and beautiful, artists? Discernment often seems to be discarded, if ever picked up, in the pursuit of a sensory beauty. But pursue discernment we must. Be discerning. Start with what is beautiful and work to articulate it beautifully.

Beauty in appearance is great and has its purposes, but discernment is preciously, invaluably beautiful. If Abigail had no discernment, there would not have been a man left alive in her husband’s household to enjoy her beautiful appearance. Her husband Nabal was a fool as he spurned David’s earlier services to his men. But Abigail’s discernment not only spared many from much sorrow, her discernment gave her appearance something worthy to adorn. Her discernment was the glory that her beauty served to affirm.

To be beautiful but without discernment is to affirm not much. Artists, pursue discernment. You know how to pursue beauty in appearance in your works, but have you given your beauty-disciplines a worthwhile theme to beautify? Don’t just present “beauty,” rather, beautifully articulate what is truly beautiful!

Abigail’s discernment was what stayed David’s sword from bloodguilt. David said to her, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from avenging myself with my own hand! For as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there had not been left to Nabal so much as one male” (25:32b-34).

Artists, your part in the body is to serve the body what it needs. And you are equipped well to serve them in a variety of ways: as encourager, as prophet, as counselor, as admonisher, as one who warns, as one who commends, as one who reveals, as one who preserves, as one who weeps and leads in weeping, and as one who rejoices and encourages celebration, as one who soothes, as one who works a balm, and as one who awakens zeal. You are equipped to work through the senses down into the soul, but do you carry anything for the soul once you have captivated the senses? Are you sensory tuned only? Are the senses all that you are able to move, or all that you aim for? Are you serving the body like Abigail served David, or like the Philistine woman served Samson (Judges 14)? One had beauty only, which was a great expense for Samson’s lack of discretion, while one led with discernment, which beautifully served David’s lack of discretion.

Let us not neglect the pursuit of discernment for the ease of pursuing beauty only. Discernment is needed far more than beauty, yet beauty is not unnecessary. Once discernment is found, you have to put flesh on it. So labor with all your artistic might to present it as beautiful as it truly is.

Artists, may you and your work be like Abigail: discerning and beautiful, that the body may be effectively served.

Jason Harms


© 2009 The Gaius Project