I don’t appreciate art.
I don’t say this as a judgment on art in general, but more as a disclaimer about my lack of sophistication, at least in this field.
The extent of my criticism of any given piece would be either: It looks nice, or that took a lot of effort and skill, or that’s so simple that even I could have done it, but she did it first – kudos to her.
So for any given piece of art, I cannot place a value on it. Just as well because who am I to do so when I can barely tell the difference between a masterpiece and the background posters used to sell Ikea photo frames.
However, there are others who know what they’re talking about and are willing to pay exorbitant sums for art.
Yes, sometimes it’s just vanity, yes sometimes it’s just posing and yes, sometimes it’s just people with too much money to spend.
But at the end of the day, if I put a lump of clay on eBay and someone bids a million dollars for it and pays for it, then that lump of clay is worth a million dollars, no matter what others say. Even, no matter what I say. And I made it.
In the Christiany context then, this solves a whole bunch of problems I used to agonize about. Am I worthy? Am I worthwhile? I’m not so sure. I better do more Bible Study. I’d better do more service. I’d better give more. I’d better convert more people, or at the very least, give out pamphlets at Christmas. I’d better sin less. Oh boy, do I really need to sin less.
Even the message of God’s grace, freely given, becomes self emotional blackmail.
Jesus died for your sins, while you were yet a sinner: You better behave yourself.
See the guilt trip?
It should actually be the reverse.
A mind-blowing, breath-taking exclamation of … ideally joy and gratitude. But more often then not, it’s just disbelief and doubt. I’ll get there someday.
Consider this: What if I fashioned a lump of clay and the greatest art collector in the world trades off everything he owns to purchase it? What if I write a clumsy ditty, put it on Youtube and the greatest maestro quits his job as a conductor of a world-class orchestra, sells everything he has first, then comes knocking on my door to purchase the rights for my ditty, with the caveat that I must go along with him to play it?
If that really happened, who cares what anyone thinks about my lump of clay, or musical ditty? So what if everyone thinks they suck? I think they suck. But the greatest art collector thinks otherwise. Can anyone gainsay his opinion? The greatest maestro says otherwise. Can anyone overrule him? Plus they both put their money where their mouths are – and paid for the respective pieces in full, at great personal costs to themselves.
This is nothing new, of course. Read here for the depictions of these in the Bible.
If the true worth of something is what someone is willing to pay for it (and actually does so), then if Christ died for me before I was even aware of my need for it, let alone willing to receive it, what does that say about my worth? To God? Who’s opinion overrides everyone else’s including my own?
So what if I don’t think I’m worth it? God does. Does my opinion supersede His? Of course not. (To insist on this is a kind of pride: My standards are higher than God’s) In which case, then by all accounts, by all opinions that matter, by all authority: I am worthwhile. Fact. Whether I like it or not.
Now, if I can get off my self-pitying a***, just accept this and live my life accordingly. Things usually go so much better.