I went to a conference a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t a Christian conference or a women’s retreat–it was a photography conference with some of the best educators in the business. But as the weekend unfolded, a theme became evident: God was revealing glimpses of how these industry leaders were relying on their faith to manage the demands of the work of running a successful studio.
One speaker in particular, Dan Frievalt, shared that he is learning to put “faith before Facebook.” I think most of the room resonated with that. When I get up in the morning, is Facebook the first thing I turn to, or do I turn to time in the Word? Boom. Conviction.
When I get up, the phrase now pops into my mind: Faith before Facebook. Where will I head first? Where will I turn to establish my sense of identity for the day? Where is my priority?
According to Augustine, the early church father whose writings shaped a good portion of the Western Church, our sin can generally be described as “disordered affection.” Augustine “observed that the heart’s loves have an order to them, and that we often love less important things more and the more important things less.” We sin when we our loves are out of order. When Facebook comes before faith, when time spent scrolling through my friends’ highlight reel becomes more real and significant than time in the Word, or when I find my identity in the newest accolades on my business pages rather than in my identity as a beloved and adopted child of God, then my loves are disordered.
Sometimes we just want a moral list to follow. Check the boxes, know I am on track as a good person. But Jesus doesn’t leave us with a list–he gives us himself, and he draws us to see that loving him is at the heart of it all.
We often would prefer a list. Things don’t change–we are just like the church-going lawyer who asked Jesus,
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
It’s about love, Jesus said. Love God. Love others. Way harder than following a list of do’s and don’t’s.
In other words, love Jesus first. Love the people God puts in your path.
Sometimes we love them by finishing projects on time and on budget. Sometimes we love them by providing artwork that exceeds their expectations. Sometimes we love God by creating beautiful things that reflect his own creativity, by celebrating the Imago Dei, by asking him to show off his beauty and then capturing it in a silhouette featuring the brilliance of a perfect sunset.
Let’s do our work well, but let’s keep it in its proper place. Let’s love well. The Lord of the Universe has gifted us to reflect his creativity–he simply asks that we love him more than his gifts.