the meaning of things

I’m a little hesitant to write this post.  The two Sundays ago, the Gospel reading from Matthew Chapter 10 included the story of the rich young man who approached Jesus with hope, asking “Good Teacher, what must I do to have eternal life?”  After their conversation, the young man was crestfallen and went away sad.  Jesus had told him to sell everything he had and give it to the poor.  The conversation pointed out that his “things” were too important to him.

This gospel story formed the basis for my pastor’s sermon which included a warning about Americans having too many things in our lives.  We must be wary about our desire for things.  We have to watch out that things don’t become too important in our lives, distracting us from Christ.  We must be careful that things will make too much clutter, too much noise that we cannot hear God speak in our hearts.

Yet, I make things.  Even worse, I make things I want people to buy.

And I want the things I make to be meaningful to and treasured by the people who buy them.

Long ago, in my craft fair days, a repeat customer came into my booth and told me that she’d bought something from me at a previous show, and it had become a favorite piece of jewelry.  She said she always put on that piece in the morning if she felt the day would be a difficult or stressful one because it just made her feel better.

I was honored.  I loved that feeling of connection between myself as an artist influencing a person in a positive manner through my work.  As a Christian, it became my goal to create this kind of connection through my work regularly.

I have heard many stories from customers about that positive connection.  I’ve been commissioned to make pieces for grieving family members, the pieces selected according to the scripture verses and the recipients.  I’ve made pieces that were bought and intended as gifts to friends or family facing health crises.  When these are custom orders, or I hear the story, I promise to pray for the person while I make the piece.  I’m honored to do so.  (although I do find it hard not to be saddened as well)

So, I want to be bold and intrepid at the same time in my attitude about things.  I know that the things I make can be treasured, but not for their own intrinsic value.  They should be treasured for the connection they provide between the wearer and our Lord.  My pieces are crosses or designs that include scripture.  I’m happy for the connection between me as the artist, and the buyer.  But at that point, I want to step aside and encourage the connection–through my things–with God.  My all-silver line has the tagline “jewelry that serves as a source of encouragement and a reminder of faith.”

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