I used to have a friend whose family owned a chain of fast food restaurants. Naturally, I assumed he must hold the post of some bigwig, commanding entire fleets of metal-mouthed, teenage employees. I was shocked to learn that despite the fact that he had worked for the place for years (with his father as chief of the cheeseburger tribe), he was still nothing more than a kitchen grunt.
“How does that make you feel?” I asked, bewildered.
“Nick,” he said, “I’ve just come to terms with the fact that every job I do is important, and how I perform is a direct reflection of how I view God.”
That conversation has always stuck in my head. I learn a little more from it every day. We all face different monsters that cause us to feel apathetic towards our art, whether that’s entitlement, disconnection, fear; any number of things can cause us to forget what we’re called to do. That thing–whatever it is–is an illustration of how much we value God’s opinion of our responsibility. My friend’s responsibility was to make food for people. He knew God was observing his attitude, so he executed his responsibility well.
Andy Stanley once made this statement about temptation: “Our ability to withstand temptation has a lot to do with our confidence in God.” And man, is it true! Daily we face the temptation to do half of our job, to put half as much heart into our art, and to be “pretty good” because we’re not confident in God’s ability to use our best art any more than he could use our half-baked art.
Seth Godin says this about the idea of being “pretty good”: “Good art is useless and banal. No one crosses the street to buy good art, or becomes loyal to a good artist. If you can’t be remarkable, perhaps you should consider doing nothing until you can.” Now, before you let me have it, this has nothing to do with the learning process or being perfect. It’s neither of those. It’s about the product you present. It’s about doing your best. Ultimately it’s up to you, as the artist, to decide whether or not you’re giving it your all, but you had better be. If you don’t think it matters to God, look at what Paul says about it.
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
Look anywhere to see what God’s glory is worth. I’ll give you a hint: It’s hot, gold-dipped and skillfully played.