Artists are an interesting breed. They rarely see the world in the same way as those around them. Some seem completely normal on the outside but carry storms of creativity within. Some are odd, cantankerous, often difficult to deal with in throws of their work and I have known many that used being an artist as an excuse to be odd, cantankerous, and difficult to deal with. And I should know. It was my profession for near two decades before I went into ministry.
I’ve known many over the years and I’ve never seen one that didn’t have some quirks or let’s call them interesting perspectives on the world and their work. Some of the artists I have known have been artists in the classical sense, painters and sculptors. Others have been digital artists—graphic designers, architects, and video producers.
One thing they all have in common is they have a process, a method for how they approach the work. I was looking around this week online and found a list of artists and their methods. Vincent van Gogh in a letter to his brother Theo wrote, “Occasionally, in times of worry…I longed to be stylish, but on second thought I say no–just let me be myself–and express rough, yet true things with rough workmanship.” Painter Henri Matisse said, “Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while one is working.” Modern artist Duaiv answers the question of process saying, “When I start a painting, there are no rules. Sometimes, I know what I am going to do. Sometimes, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I paint always without pictures. I do everything by memory. I don’t like to draw, so I put my oil on the canvas. You surprise yourself. You don’t know where you are going.”
One thing I notice in each of these responses is a sense of a director, a direction, and directive. There is someone to point the way. There is a way to go. And there is something to be done on the way. Each artist in their process becomes a director, decides on or feels the direction, and engages that directive within their medium—paint and canvas, chisel and stone, or whatever other means they choose.
In Matthew’s biography of Jesus, Jesus has gone through the temptation, having been offered practically everything a person could be offered, and is now beginning his ministry. He’s moved to a new place, away from Nazareth to Capernaum, and is putting things in place to begin the work he was called to. Most scholars think he has likely been here a little while when the events we read about come to pass. Jesus probably had been preaching the Kin-dom of Heaven along the shores of the Galilean Sea and caught the attention of several people. Among these, were two sets of brothers—Peter and Andrew, James and John. Jesus says to these brothers simply, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of people.”
The response was swift. Peter and Andrew dropped the nets they had just thrown into the sea and started walking. James and John left their father’s boats and their work and starting walking as well. They had likely been listening. They knew what Jesus was asking or at least, they knew what being a disciple of an itinerant prophet meant. The work started as soon as they started following. The writer of Matthew says,
Jesus went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, people possessed by demons or having epilepsy or afflicted with paralysis, and he cured them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
As Jesus called Andrew, Peter, James, John and the others, he called them to follow. They had a director, directive, and a direction. Jesus is the director, and the direction was to walk with him. The directive was learning from him, learning to teach and proclaim the kin-dom of God.
Is it any different for us?
We say no, and we usually say it quickly because we’ve been programmed and conditioned to respond that way. It’s the right church answer, the automatic response. But think about it a minute. Think about your day from the time you get up until the time you go to bed. Think about how much time you spend doing each thing you do. Where do you go? Who do you spend your time with? How do you spend your time?
Answer again, is it any different for us as modern-day disciples following the Jesus Way of life and living?
The methods may be different. The tools may be different. The mediums we work with as spiritual artists may be different. But I don’t think the spirit of being a follower or the commitment to follow is. In the same way the first followers of Jesus were willing to follow at Jesus’ call, we too should be willing to. And not follow a church doctrine, not follow a political agenda, not follow a denominational structure, but follow the life and teachings of Jesus. We are called, as Paul wrote, to let the same mind—the same sensibilities and perspective on life and being—be in you that was in Jesus.
And now we have a choice. What is your directive—what is the way of living and being you are living into? What is your direction—what is the path you follow? Most importantly, who is your director—who do you chose walk alongside of day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute?
 Matthew 4:19
 Matthew 4:23-25
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