I have a friend who wrote a long piece on this. I know what her hearts cry is. I have so many extraordinarily gifted people I know. People who by all rights should be on the top. Yet they are not.
These people are artists (paints and painting), sculptors, musicians of all stripes, composers, writers of books and preachers. Most of them struggle to get paid for what their hearts passion.
I have asked the Lord why. Freely given freely give.
Matthew 10:7And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts, 10no bag for your journey, nor two tunics nor sandals nor a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. 11And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. 12As you enter the house, greet it. 13And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.
Please understand, they deserve to be paid. They deserve more. The problem is as soon as one begins to focus on striving for wealth out of the gift, they become their own worst enemy. Sure, a Micheal Jackson, the Beatles, an Andy Warhol, A Joel Osteen and numbers of others have succeeded in monetizing the gift they were given by God. Sometimes it is just knowing how to push the buttons on the star making machine.
It really comes down to the flow of the gift from God. IF an artist truly gifted from God knew full well he or she would never ever make a penny for the rest of their life on their art, would they stop painting, sculpting, composing, playing, writing or preaching? IF the answer is yes, they would stop, then it was not a gift.
True artistic giftedness is a flow. Inspiration comes and the art is performed or created for it's own sake. Music is different in that it can be repeated. People covering their own music sometimes are the most sad. No one says to Van Gogh, "Paint another "Starry Night" again". He could have. It might even be good. But it would be a copy. The nuance in giftedness is seeing the difference.
I know the history of art. Patrons supported artists. Artists produced art... much of it great. Bach wrote something every week fresh. Mozart fought to stay alive on patron money. Commissioned paintings. Commissioned sculptures. That tradition seems to be lost. Not much of that going on any more. Sure as a writer, if you are good enough, you can find someone to advance you money on a book.
This frustration has caused discouragement and even anger on the part of many. I knew a gifted artist who in frustration took all her paintings and sculptures and piled them up, poured gasoline on them and burned them. She told me her artistic flow increased. I thought it was a pretty radical thing to do.
I have writings and sermon notes from the last 20 years. In boxes. I from time to time have dipped back in them. They are good. YET.. I can never preach nor teach the same material twice. I hear renowned preachers and teachers four or five times and begin to hear serious recycling going on. No fresh manna. That is when purely for money stifles the flow. It's what happens when the ministry money machine is turned on.
Please hear my heart. I am NOT critical of people who make a good living on their art. I wish all could. It must start however with the gift being able to flow thru us.
One of my relatives, Terry Redlin is a famous wildlife artist. He has become wealthy by his art. What most don't know is when he wasn't wealthy, when we worked for a magazine (Dakota Farmer) for peanuts he painted all the time for free. Gave it away. I have some.
Unless we are prepared to play, paint and preach for free...we will never find the flow that makes it possible for monetization. Here's a prayer for artists written by Ginger Pennington:
My prayer for the struggling artist:
Despite these things, we will trust in the Lord. He works all things for good to those who love Him and are the called according to His purposes. We will walk by faith and not by sight. We may not know what opportunities or seeming lack thereof will come down the road for us, but God, you do, and you know better than we the plans you have to prosper us, give us hope, and a future. The rich may rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender, but even still may we remove our dependence upon others and simply trust in YOU [God] to send us provision and wisdom. May we be trusted when we have very little so that we can be trusted with much, since whomever is dishonest with very little is dishonest with very much. Let us receive a renewed vision and hope from you without any doubt, so that we will no longer be like a wave tossed to and fro in the ocean, and so that we may receive anything that we ask from you. Keep our hearts pure, full of love, and eager to always serve you in the name of Christ. Let whatever we create come together in a way that both brings glory to your name and draws souls to the love and freedom you provide in Christ for eternity. Hallelujah!
Now go on producing the flow of the Holy Spirit given to you freely. When the times comes if it ever does you will see a reward. The art you bring will be it's own reward in love ... and the world will be a better more beautiful place.