Becoming a Soul Artist, Pt. 2 : Investment
Mike Rhoades | Jul 23, 2015
Inevitably, on mission trips, I see people change. As the week progresses, many move from engaged to invested. An engaged person actively participates, they are present in spirit but lack much true emotional entanglement with the people or situation. Invested people, they are a different breed. These people not only get what's happening on a logical level but have transferred the experience to an emotional level. They no longer work out of some moral or religious obligation, rather they're sense of justice and sanity is now tied to the outcome. When a project fails for someone who is engaged, they are capable of chalking it up to experience and moving forward, but for an invested person there is a time of mourning that's follows. Their world has been shaken, there sense of what should be has been dealt a strong emotional blow that their souls must now recover from. An invested missionary, doesn't remember the church being built, they remember the friend they built it for and are deeply concerned about the outcome of their life.
Recently, Erwin McManus released a book entitle, The Artisan Soul, in which he writes, "The artisan soul moves toward purity of ingredients, understands the power of simplicity, makes life a craft and not a product, and treats people as unique individuals rather than commodities." A hall mark of an artist is their complete emotional, spiritual, and physical investment in their craft and it perfectly illustrates what happens on a mission trip.
People start off engaged in the local culture, the mission, the purpose. Their sense of purpose or maybe adventure has led them to the mission field. However, as the week moves on relationships evolve, they take on depth and character. In a word, they become personal. It's no longer a kid in a village who needs to know Jesus, it becomes a name, a face, and a friend. It's a transformational experience for the missionary and those they serve. All the planning and evaluating in the world can never replace the simplistic power of one person authentically investing in another.
In life, most incredible things, experiences, or products can be broken down into rather common ingredients. What separates an incredible piece of pottery from a grade school project? It's not the ingredients, both use clay. An artist's passion and skill can turn a simple piece of clay into an incredible work of art. The ingredients don't make the artist great, the artist turns the ingredients into a masterpiece.
Becoming an artist, a soul artist, takes time. You rarely experience instant gratification, and it always requires sacrifice. The ingredients to life change aren't in themselves extraordinary; read your Bible, pray, worship and serve. Extraordinary happens in the intentional and passionate hands of a person deeply invested in the lives of those around them. It's quite simple, but don't mistake simple for easy. Clay doesn't become art without intense effort over time. Great songs don't come in a moment, they are the culmination of hours of working with the same notes to craft beautiful, and unique melodies. Few things are more impactful for the Kingdom of God than a person, devoid of pretense and complexity, intentionally applying the Gospel to another's life. The Gospel, simple enough to be understood by a child, but powerful enough to change the world. What makes the Gospel message come to life? The artist.
Invest yourself in the lives of others. Emotionally, physically, and spiritually dive deep, and risk much. Become a soul artist.
by: Mike Rhoades