"... And you are to rejoice before the Lord your God in everything you put your hand to." (Deu. 12:18)
My senior year of high school, I had the realization that I found something I wanted to put my hands to for the rest of my life. I wanted to be a photographer, by trade.
That year, I was seeing a passion ignite in me, and the Lord was using it. He began showing up in conversations when people would ask me about photography. I was given access to people’s lives that otherwise would have no reason to let me in. He was setting this passion in me by a Spirit that was not my own. Suddenly I was braver, I had passion for something that was life-giving. I was getting the chance to be creative; a character trait I knew came first from the Creator, God. I was figuring out that making a photo could be more than the picture. I could be a way to honor the Lord, love Him, serve Him, because in photography I'd found a way to love people, serve them, and honor them.
But to take a full look back, it started with the Lord. He who first gave the greatest gift, resulted in the need to share what had been given to me. salvation. new life in Him. love eternal. Freely given, and undeserved. Taking on this new life, meant putting away my old self, and putting on Christ.
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as your reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving" Col. 3:23
As I began to pay more attention to how God blesses his kids with specific gifts, and how He makes those gifts to point to His glory, I was amazed to see how deeply God cares about work, skills, creativity, and crafts. Reading scripture, I found God carefully equipping artists, craftsmen, musicians, accountants, gatekeepers, and tons of “skilled persons” for the work of His service. Lots of people, each blessed with a different set of skills, for the Kingdom of God.
"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up."
Or take the musicians for example. In the Old Testament, King David makes all the building preparations for his son, Solomon, to build an altar for the Lord. 288 musicians, "for the music of the temple of the Lord, with cymbals, lyres, and harps, for the ministry at the house of God" (1 Chr. 25). "all of them trained and skilled in music for the Lord". The musicians were given a hand in the ministry, using the gifts they'd been given.
Or in Exodus 31:3, artists, filled with the Holy Spirit, are used to make beautiful things, "work in gold, silver, and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts." And the result not only points to the Lord, but also points the community around them to the ultimate beauty of God.
And here I found myself using photography like the musicians and the artists: for the ministry. But even beyond the house of God, and in friend’s homes, with the Women of Jestine’s, the streets of my neighborhood, Camp St. Christopher, Max and Claire’s wedding ceremony, and each senior portrait session.
So that's why I'm taking this time to look back, and remember all the things God has shown me about who He is and how He's equipped me. Because it's more than just a business. This is my mission, my vocation, what I've been called to. There's still a lot God's showing me, but as He continues, I'll keep making photos. Here are some of the ones I've made along the way.