Man invents. God creates.
Man invented the automobile, called it “amazing”!
God made a tree and said, “Good”.
Man invented the refrigerator, called it ‘incredible”!
God made a rabbit, and said, “Good”.
The wheels fell off the car. The refrigerator broke down.
The tree’s still up and the rabbit’s still running. – W.H.Cosby
You show someone your latest work, your best creation, something you worked really hard on. You ask her what she thinks of it.
She says, “It’s good.”
How do you feel about that evaluation?
Chances are, you don’t feel very good about it.
Something in our creative DNA makes us dissatisfied unless our work is worthy of superlatives. We want our creations to be considered amazing, ground-breaking, outstanding – anything but simply good. For many, good equals average, unremarkable, acceptable, but not memorable.
But in God’s vocabulary, good is good enough.
Think about the creation story. God meticulously builds the fabric of our universe – light, sky, water, stars, earth – and after speaking the world into existence, observes it and evaluates each step of his creative process as good. The original Hebrew defines the word as pleasant and agreeable. Still, these words don’t seem to do justice to the astonishing act of creating the universe.
Another example is the day on which we commemorate Christ’s crucifixion, known as Good Friday. Most sources point out that the word ‘good’ was better understood as ‘holy’ in its original context. No matter where the term originated, the day of the Savior’s supreme sacrifice has no deeply moving description. Just good.
What does this mean for the creative artist? If God’s greatest works – creation and salvation – are simply good, maybe good should be good enough for us as well.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive for excellence. It means we should re-evaluate what makes something good in the first place.
The goodness of a gift isn’t simply a question of opinion. It’s the quality of the gift that makes it good. Good is determined by the generosity of the giver, when the gift is perfectly prepared for a designated purpose.
And because God always knows exactly what we need, everything he gives is good.
Creation wasn’t a gift that God gave himself, as if he was missing something. He created this world as a gift to us, the ones he made in his image.
Salvation too, is a gift to every man and woman who would choose to believe.
So all of us artists, rather than trying to gain special recognition and worrying about what people think about our work, should rather focus on making our work good – acceptable – pleasing. Not because we desire a pat on the back, but because we want to emulate the Giver of all good gifts.
When a gift is truly good, good is more than enough.