Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not what you would call a “Mr. Fix-it.” In all seriousness, I would be lying if I did not tell you that in an attempt to replace a tube in my daughter’s bike tire on a hot Florida evening, the whole bike ended up in the trash can. Long story (even longer night!”).
However, I am not completely destitute in working with my hands around the house or the church. I am a painter. Over the past 9 months, I have rolled over 40 gallons of paint onto our new church building’s walls and almost completely painted the inside of our home. When someone walks into the church and asks who we hired to do the painting, I get a thrill out of the assertion that there was something that needed “fixing” that I accomplished with my hands!
A few weeks ago we were working in the nursery. A pastor friend’s wife had come to help us to paint a beautiful mural in the nursery. To be honest, that was not just painting, that was art! As we sketched our animals and features onto transparency paper and then onto the wall in pencil, the pain-staking detail of artistry became quite obvious. I was a painter but hardly an artist!
As I was “perfecting” a juvenile-styled goat on the wall, a church member walked in and said, “Wow! You’re an artist, too!” WAIT A MINUTE….SLOW DOWN! I paint, but I am not an artist!
As I meditated on the difference, the Holy Spirit showed me that the work of the Pastor/Teacher is to be both a painter and an artist. Allow me to amplify.
Painters normally work within great spaces. I remember walking through our building with its never-ending white walls (akin to me of the blank corridors of an insane asylum…and please don’t ask me how I know that!). There was this overwhelming feeling of the vastness of the project. Though there is tedious trim work that is done, the main goal of the painter is to take an exterior, a room, a space and survey the room with color.
The artist, however, sees large things and focuses in on the minute details. Artists spend hours on the accuracy of a face, a structure, a sunset, using a myriad of colors to capture their vision. The “Painter of Light,” Thomas Kincaid, made collectible masterpieces by placing within his celestial scenes, varying occurrences of the letter “N,” an homage to his wife, Nanette. Such details makes a man great!
As a preacher of the gospel, I am to be skilled in both the landscape and survey of Scripture, as well as the minute details of God’s Word. My job in preaching is to paint a background for the people, as well as to focus the hearts of the people onto smaller truths. I may spend thirty minutes on a survey of the book of Acts, or spend three months of the three missionary journeys of Paul. Both are necessary, but without the work of painting my backdrop, my artisan skill will be less effective.
If you are a church member reading this post, know that your pastor labors in doctrine and emphasizes the significance of each weekly service to act as both a painter and an artist on the canvas of your heart. Develop a habit of faithfulness to Sunday School and the preaching services your pastor offers. He wants you to see the big picture, as well as to teach you a great love and appreciation for the smallest truths in Scripture.
So, whether you are the man of God with the palette or the canvas in the pew, thank God for these varying brush strokes and for your opportunity to know God and to make Him known. Selah!