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Why we shouldn’t focus on the brushstrokes

When I’m on holiday, I love stumbling across art galleries, and can never resist taking a peek inside to admire the paintings. While I know very little about the world of art, I find the variety of style and technique intriguing. My personal favourites are paintings which, up close, look like a mass of small, thickly-applied brushstrokes, seemingly with no pattern or focus, yet when you stand back and observe the painting from a distance, all the brushstrokes have combined to form a rich, textured and outstandingly beautiful picture.

In life, I often forget to stand back. Instead, I focus on the tiny, individual brushstrokes. The little daubs of paint that seem to make no sense. The humdrum of life. Everyday activities. Even things that we, as believers, started out with great gusto to do for God. It’s so easy to become focussed on today. This earthly life.

We get discouraged so easily. Things don’t work out the way we planned. Our efforts seem to fail. No one seems to notice or appreciate what we’re doing. Why am I doing this? we cry. Is there any point?

We need to stand back. To view the whole painting.

Lately, I heard a Bible message on the rebuilding of the temple and walls of Jerusalem in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. One of the things the speaker said caused me to move away from inspecting brushstrokes.

‘We are contributing to the progression of God’s ultimate goal. When we see the glory, it’ll be worth it.’

The glory. The whole picture.

The day is coming, sooner than we might imagine, when all those tiny brushstrokes will merge into a scene so amazing and grand that we will marvel and bow in worship before the Lord.

Without this future glory, nothing that we do has purpose; our lives don’t make sense. Focussing on this life is shortsighted. It’s all too easy to live every day in mediocrity and humdrumness. To keep our eyes on one little daub of paint which won’t make a painting on its own anyway. Fellow believers – stand back! Lift your eyes! Understand that your little mark on earth will be part of a glorious and grand scene. Living for God has purpose. Do your best.

Because very soon we shall see His glory. And it truly will be worth it!

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