“In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips (idle chatter) tendeth only to penury (poverty).” Proverbs 14:23
I always loved art class as a kid, even though my aunt was the teacher and it sometimes led to me getting into trouble. Art was the last class of the day and sometimes my aunt would relay to my dad my misdeeds from class. I would try to be good, but sometimes my flesh got the best of me. We learned the basics of art and my aunt showed us how to do the projects which, if you knew our class, required a great deal of patience. I remember all the cool art projects we did, and I miss those simple times in my life. I really grew a love for art in these younger days, but what I possessed in imagination, I lacked in talent.
As we got older, we each created an art project in hopes to enter in the annual Fine Arts competition. Fine Arts was a chance for our school to send some of our best artwork to compete with the other Christian schools in the area. I had a staple project I would always submit, but one year, my aunt encouraged me to try something new. She gave me a blank canvas to work with, and it was my opportunity to show what I could do. I was not much skilled in drawing and painting, but I thought I would give it the old “sixth-grade try”. I asked my friend for some paint he had for model cars, and I decided to use this to paint my masterpiece. I am not sure model car paint was meant for canvas, but since I couldn’t paint anyway, I don’t believe it mattered much.
We had a brick planter outside of our classroom, so early one day, I used it to hold my canvas while I opened up all the paint containers and foolishly placed them down on my blank canvas. I had a hard time opening up the last paint color, and in my attempt to open it, I knocked over the other paint colors onto my white canvas. I knew if I let it leak onto the planter I would get into trouble, so I was quick to grab the canvas and let it drip into the planter where I could hide the colors in the dirt. My teacher came out and told us it was time to go inside, so I quickly closed the lids of the paint and left my mess outside to dry. By the time last recess rolled around, the blazing Arizona sun had baked the paint into my destroyed canvas. My next class was art class, and I prepared to tell my aunt that I had ruined the canvas she had given me.
I went to art class with my head down, and I knew my hopes of entering in the Fine Arts competition was ruined. My aunt asked me how my project was coming and I slowly pulled out my botched work. Her eyes opened wide, but to my shock, she was impressed and not disappointed in me. She asked me how I got the colors to run together so nicely. In my head, I thought the same thing to myself, as I tried to find the beauty in what she was looking at. I told her what had happened and she laughed, although she thought the piece looked really nice. I tried to duplicate the process in my other art projects, but I could never make the colors run like I once did by accident. What I thought was trash, my aunt saw beauty in it.
It has been this same way in some of the jobs I have held where I thought they were “trash” jobs, but God saw the profit of my labor. I literally did work throwing trash in Chicago, which nobody would think is glamorous work, but there is beauty in labor when you work for the Lord. What about you? Are you busy working, or do you find yourself in the leisure zone? Are you serving and working for the Lord in and with your church, or do you find yourself exiting the building right after the service ends? God will do great and amazing things through you if you will just work. May we quit simply talking about work and get busy getting to work.
Stay in the fight!