I want to be an artist, but my parents don’t think it is practical


Brother Hamilton,

I hope all is well. In the past, the few occasions I wrote to you were truly life-changing. Your talent with teaching is off the chart and much appreciated!

I don't really have a direct question, more so I'm writing again because I want a minister's advice on some career decisions I'm making. I've tried talking to my parents before about this, but my dad who is a white-collar career type of guy quickly brushes it off as a waste of time at best or not worth the effort. His thinking is that I should be more concerned with trying to go into a field where there is better financial security. I understand and consider this. I don't ignore his point, but neither he nor my mother balances their advice with the spiritual side of things.

It's very annoying. I know about survival. I've been there before. I know what it means to do what you have to do, but I do not believe in using money as the main motivator for my career choice. I believe in doing, within reason, what I enjoy most and what I am best at. Also, I hate thinking constantly about stuff like money. That is no way to live. I rather choose the career path of my heart's desire, give my best shot and trust God that He will provide the rest.

My parents, however, have never once offered me this type of wisdom in discussing my career choice. Despite Jesus saying that whatever we ask in His name he will do it. Also that when we ask for something from the Father, we will receive it if we don't ask for selfish reasons. Even the parable of the talents seems to be a hint that it is a mistake to not use the abilities God blessed us with. It is these things that motivate me to go down the path I choose for my career.

What I'm not clear on is whether it's worldly or wrong of me to want a successful career using my creative abilities and to establish myself as an artist? The beauty of creativity is it is the only realm we have in which we get to express whatever we like, hopefully, things that change people's lives for the better, but (for the most part) do not involve moral judgments. Still, there are some artists who portray things that do not promote Christian living and I know this to be wrong. I just want to be in a position that allows me to be the most influential with my work hopefully helping lead them to God when they see my example.

I'd be greatly thankful for any advice. I have been thinking a lot about this.

God bless! Thanks so much.


I'll give you the same advice I gave my children:

"In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good" (Ecclesiastes 11:6).

As an adult, you'll be responsible for putting food on your table, and if you are blessed with a family, it is your duty to support them. "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (I Timothy 5:8).

Creative jobs are fun, but there is an aspect to them that requires people to want what you produce. That means the income can be fickle since it is based on fickle people. Therefore, take a page from Paul's life. Several times he arrived in a town to preach the gospel and had no income. What he did was both work and preach. "For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone's bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us" (II Thessalonians 3:7-9). When he had enough income from the support for his preaching, he focused on that alone.

I want you to do the same thing. Pick a job that you enjoy doing. Something that, if it must, can support you during lean times. Then do what you love as a second job or hobby. If what you love grows to the point that you can use it to live on, then you are in a great position.

So stop thinking in terms of all or nothing. Even better is when you can find two jobs where you can take the skills from one and use them in the other.


This made a difference!

Prayers and blessings to you. Thank you.

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