I think God is the ultimate artist.
An artist works with material to express themselves. They may use paint or clay or music or a million other things. But what they are all attempting to do is take something within themselves and express it to others through a medium.
An artist is the opposite of a manufacturer. A manufacturer wants to make the same thing, over and over again with as little variance as possible. A manufacturer is out for profit, not self expression.
Making lots of the same thing is easier, faster and cheaper than making each item an original, unique piece.
Sometimes, manufacturers even try to reproduce a unique item. For instance, “Portrait of Dr. Gachet”, painted by Van Gogh sold in 1990 for $82.5 million. But you can buy a duplicate for as little as $140.00 at cheapoilpainting.com. You can buy as many as you want. They can make more anytime they need to.
God is not in the business of manufacturing Christians.
He is in the business of uniquely crafting sons and daughters.
If God is a painter, I actually think that he only paints one thing: a self portrait. But each one looks a little different. Some are modernist, some are impressionist, some are abstract; some are oil, others pastel and on and on and on.
If you put them next to each other, they’d initially look very different from one to another. But each one, if you watch as he paints, shares the same theme. It begins to look more and more like Jesus.
Some paintings are early on and you can barely see any similarities. Others, he has been working on for some time and they are nearly done. You can totally pick out aspects of Jesus in those paintings.
But by looking at only one piece, we wouldn’t know very much about the artist. By looking at just ourselves, we can’t see much of God’s work. It’s when we look at many different pieces that we start to know his handiwork.
We may like some of God’s paintings and not like others, but God loves them all. The main point in his art is the message, not the material he is using. As we spend our time wandering in his gallery, we get more familiar with his message and less caught up in his varying mediums.
Maybe at first the only thing we’ll see is how different every piece is. Maybe his only tenancy is to be completely unpredictable. But as we look and examine other pieces, I think we will start to see the common thread across the various styles and materials. That each piece has a little of himself in it.
God is an artist, not a manufacturer. And in you, he’s making another beautiful, unique self portrait of himself.