I must decrease, Christ must increase.
Excerpt from an interview with Laura Waters Hinson that JE sent me today:
Where does your personal brokenness come up against your craft?
I identify a lot with Lilias Trotter … In the late 1800s, art critic John Ruskin told her that she could be one of the best painters of her day—if only she would focus exclusively on her art. But she was conflicted because she wanted to be a missionary, too. She knew she could do both art and mission work, but not if she wanted to become a famous painter. In other words, her struggle wasn’t between art and ministry, but between fame and obscurity.
Like most artists, I’m not content with doing my art for no one to see. I want it to have an impact and be significant, especially since I feel a responsibility to my investors. The struggle for me is to trust God’s plan for my work and that my vocation is a calling from him even if no one sees my films.
I read a biography about Lilias Trotter in college. Back then, her struggle was one that struck me in theory, but almost ten years later, this tension resonates in real life. It is hard to seek to decrease. It is hard to practically pursue obscurity while promoting one’s work or business, to pursue obscurity while pursuing to be a voice for Christ.
Very few people write, create, or tell stories into a void. Surely God gives these gifts to be shared for the common good? But how to exercise these while denying the empty pursuit of selfish ambition and fame. How to do these things with a single heart and eye for God’s glory. How to exalt the Divine through a morally fragile human hand, human mind, human life.
Whatever means He employs, let every bristle point stiff, straight, upward, with no straying bristle bent self-ward, lest we be thrown aside, damaged and useless.