We live in a world of continual self-promotion. It is everywhere, permeating every nook and cranny of our society. It seems just about everyone wants to be rich and famous…a star…and, given the opportunity will go to just about any lengths to make that happen.
Some will lie, making false claims about themselves or their product in order to achieve that end; others strive to create a certain perception of themselves that is untrue but meant to deceive…all for the purpose of personal gain.
As an artist that desires to honor Jesus Christ, the idea of self-promotion has certainly been considered. Some of my artist friends have also pondered the question, “What is acceptable, honoring, and pleasing to God?”
Some things are easy to answer, certainly honesty and absolute integrity go without question, but what about humility vs. pride; promoting oneself vs. allowing others to do so; or saying we trust God for our provision while at the same time using worldly means to attain that end…in reality suggesting something quite different from our profession.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), a brilliantly gifted and eminent English preacher, regarded by many as the “Prince of Preachers”, spoke eloquently on the subject. It is believed that during his lifetime he preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to over 10 million souls. His insights regarding self-promotion are of profound importance to those concerned with honoring Jesus Christ through their work.
Is it OK to beat our own drum, promoting and exalting ourselves before others?
Hear what Spurgeon has to say:
Thoughts on self-promotion
We ought not to court publicity for our virtue, or notoriety for our zeal; but, at the same time, it is a sin to be always seeking to hide that which God has bestowed upon us for the good of others. A Christian is not to be a village in a valley, but “a city set upon a hill;” he is not to be a candle under a bushel, but a candle in a candlestick, giving light to all. Retirement may be lovely in its season, and to hide one’s self is doubtless modest, but the hiding of Christ in us can never be justified, and the keeping back of truth which is precious to ourselves is a sin against others and an offence against God. If you are of a nervous temperament and of retiring disposition, take care that you do not too much indulge this trembling propensity, lest you should be useless to the church. Seek in the name of him who was not ashamed of you to do some little violence to your feelings, and tell to others what Christ has told to you. If thou canst not speak with trumpet tongue, use the still small voice. If the pulpit must not be thy tribune, if the press may not carry on its wings thy words, yet say with Peter and John, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee.” By Sychar’s well talk to the Samaritan woman, if thou canst not on the mountain preach a sermon; utter the praises of Jesus in the house, if not in the temple; in the field, if not upon the exchange; in the midst of thine own household, if thou canst not in the midst of the great family of man. From the hidden springs within let sweetly flowing rivulets of testimony flow forth, giving drink to every passer-by. Hide not thy talent; trade with it; and thou shalt bring in good interest to thy Lord and Master. To speak for God will be refreshing to ourselves, cheering to saints, useful to sinners, and honoring to the Saviour. Dumb children are an affliction to their parents. Lord, unloose all thy children’s tongue
I realize the little illustration shown above is sort of frivolous in light of the seriousness of the subject, but I think it illustrates what we’re talking about.
John Pototschnik is an Art Renewal Center Associate Living Master
To view his art and bio, please click HERE