“When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.” — Luke 7:37–39, NIV
God originated excellence as he made this marvelous universe. Then God showed omnipotent creativity as he lovingly formed us and placed us in this awesome world. What an excellent creation of his we are!
God wants us to reflect his creative excellence as imagio dei, the image of God. In his image all humans are made to create. A Christian artist has a distinctive calling and gifting from God to create. Excellence is how we both honor the gift God has given us and fulfill his call to glorify him with it. Yes, we should hone our craft to the highest level as we offer it to God. When we use our gifts to create with excellence, we reflect God’s excellence.
God uses our creative excellence to glorify himself in three ways:
- Providing us the abundant life Jesus promised when we live in Him,
- Serving and equipping the body of Christ, his church, and
- Calling the world to redemption in Christ through excellent creative arts.
Excellence is our worthy gift to God!
Can artistic excellence become an idol? Yes. Excellence can easily become an end-in-itself. Excellence must never be a means of placing our artistic ability on the throne of worship. When the woman poured oil on Jesus’ feet, her expression of love was extravagant. Our gift of worship excellence is our extravagant gift. We pour it out on Jesus because we owe him everything, never to earn praise for our own ability.
Let’s put excellence in its proper place. Are we extravagant, pouring out our artistic gifts in excellence to him? Like the woman who poured out perfume on Jesus’ feet, we are moved by our own sin to pour out our most precious gift to the Savior who delivers us from that sin. A constant recognition that we cannot rescue ourselves from our own sin must keep us humble… even in our artistic excellence.
Let’s redefine excellence as extravagant worship for our Father who loves us extravagantly. — Mark Powers