By Alex Anderson – Senior Associate Pastor at Bayside Community Church –

While sitting one Monday at the beach I watched an artist. The artist came with all the equipment and the chosen medium on which to express their personal thoughts, feelings and inner self. I have noticed that many of these particular artists seem to do their most impressionable work at the beach. They brought an umbrella, couple of chairs, various containers, sunscreen, lots of snacks, towels and a few tools to dig into and shape the sand.

The artist was not painting a picture of the beautiful Gulf Coast of Florida with its crystal white sand and tranquil, translucent blue-green water. They were not designing an intricate sand castle from the dark ages with moats, towers and bridges. Nor would they be writing a mysterious novel with lots of clues to lead us through an intricate plot that brings us to heightened emotions as we are finally shocked with the jaw-dropping discovery that the minister did it in the library with a 30 lb Greek Dictionary (apologies for the personal indulgence). Nope.  This artist was creating a “Maggie”.

This highly experienced professional had arrived at the beach around 11 am and decided to set up their creative outpost with umbrella, chairs and coolers about 25 to 30 feet from where I had been for about an hour.  It did not take the artist long to get to work. After a little sunscreen and final adjustments to the umbrella, they started immediately.

“I am sick and tired of you always talking back to me. If you don’t stop wiping the sunscreen off your face you will spend the rest of the day back in the room. Do you understand me? Look at me when I’m talking to you. Don’t stand there and stare at me with that stupid look on your face. I’m sick and tired of always having to tell you three and four times to do everything. Sometimes, you disgust me. Do you know that? You just disgust me. And quit wiping that damn sunscreen in your eyes. God, I can’t take you anywhere. Sometimes you can be such a pain.”

Off and on for over 2 hours the “artist” worked. They were very persistent and focused. They were skillful and I could tell they had done this before, many times… I could also tell they had at one time been “worked on” by another well-trained “artist”.

It doesn’t take long to create a “Maggie.” Most creations like “Maggie” are completed in a few short years. It is not as hard a job as it seems since the “piece of art” does most of the work by simply accepting every brushstroke by the “artist” as the truth.

The key is timing.

There is a special window of time when making the right impression seems to work the best. Little “Maggie” was about 6 years old.

As I left the beach that day with tears rolling down my face, I wondered if twenty years from now, would Maggie become an artist and create her own masterpiece?

I prayed not.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

All around us are “pieces of art” in the making. Everyone can leave brush strokes on each other for life. The question is…will we be happy 20 years from now with our work? Will we be proud of the impact that our earlier days are having on others today?

The beautiful thing is that every one of us can change. Today we can decide the type of artist we want to be for the next generation. We can choose our own themes and not be limited by our past.

Choose well…for tomorrow’s Works of Art depend upon our “words and actions”…today!

And remember,

Be Life-Giving

Alex Anderson

Alex Anderson is a Senior Associate Pastor at Bayside Community Church, Bradenton, Florida.
To read other life-giving articles by Pastor Alex, go to http://belifegiving.blogspot.com/

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