Live a masterpiece

how to live a masterpiece

I was pretty disappointed by the Mona Lisa painting. The first time I went to the Louvre museum in Paris, France, I (like everyone) wanted to see Leonardo DaVinci’s masterpiece.

I passed by several art lovers who admired the many brilliant paintings on my way to the hall which held the famous piece of art.  The museum didn’t seem overly crowded as I made my way to the Mona Lisa.

However, when I walked into this hall, it seemed like hundreds of people were standing in line waiting to snap a photo of this painting with their cell phones. This crowd made it difficult to even get close to it. 

I was surprised by how small the Mona Lisa painting was compared to many of the masterpieces hanging on the walls of the Louvre museum. Don’t get me wrong; DaVinci’s painted a beautiful piece of art in the Mona Lisa. But, perhaps I just had an expectation that the Mona Lisa did not live up to.

When I turned around to walk away from this exhibit, I was stopped in my tracks by one of the most beautiful pieces of art I’ve ever seen! The Wedding of Cana painting covers almost the entire wall opposite of the Mona Lisa. I spent less than 5 minutes admiring DaVinci’s painting, but couldn’t pull myself away from the Wedding of Cana. This masterpiece was worth the price of admission into the Louvre. 

I’m not downplaying on the beauty of the Mona Lisa.  For all of you Leonardo DaVinci groupies out there, don’t hate on me because of my disappointment with this painting. I believe she is a timeless masterpiece.  

However, I also recognize that there were many other masterpieces in the Louvre that deserved the same crowd as the Mona Lisa. Many admirers of DaVinci’s famous painting turned around and walked out of the exhibit hall without even noticing the massive painting directly behind them.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it would look like to create a masterpiece with a human life. Like DaVinci’s genius with paint and canvas, how could a person turn his or her life into a living masterpiece?

This is the idea that the Bible lays out in Romans 12:1. I want my life to become a sacrifice worthy of our great God. If you want your life to become a masterpiece, here are a couple of thoughts on how we can put the glory of God on display for others to see, like DaVinci’s Mona Lisa.

Let go of the less important

One wrong stroke, and the Mona Lisa would be ruined. One incorrect color, and this would no longer be the most recognized piece of art in the world. Davinci had to make a lot of decisions when he created the Mona Lisa. Perhaps the most important decision he made was what NOT to put on the canvas. Everything that did not look like the Mona Lisa did not make the canvas. 

Let Leonardo DaVinci’s masterpiece help you make some decisions this week.  

We are all confronted with many opportunities. Some of those opportunities deserve our time and attention. If we’re honest, however, most of those opportunities don’t warrant our attention. Giving your time and energy to things that are of less important leaves you unable to give your best attention to the things that are most important.

If you want your life to become a masterpiece worthy of our great God, you must decide what paint doesn’t belong on the canvas of your life.  Your life starts to become a masterpiece when you become an expert at saying no to some good things so that you can say yes to the greatest things. Here is a short article I wrote on the fine art of saying “no”.

Live for greatness

Good is the enemy of Great!  If you spend all of your time and energy doing good things, you’ll have nothing left for the greatest things in life. I want to challenge you to weigh carefully how you spend your time and energy.  Giving your best energy and attention to the best things is the recipe for a life of greatness. 

Consider the decision that every university student has to make when he or she declares a major. Students have to decide what courses they will give their time and energy to. All of the other courses deserve less intellectual energy than the courses in your major degree.

Have you made the subtle mistake of majoring on the minor things and minoring in the major areas of your life? Decide today what you want the major of your life to be. Then put your best energy and attention into that thing.

Don’t feel guilty if everything else in your life gets the leftovers. If you having trouble deciding what should get your best attention, here’s an article about tough life choices.

Leave people wow’ed

I’m convinced that Leonardo DaVinci wanted people to say, “Wow!” when they saw the Mona Lisa. All art should leave us inspired and wow’ed. Why would an artist give his or her time and energy to something that didn’t stop people in their tracks?  I believe we all have the potential to live a life that is a masterpiece. I believe that we can live in such a way that people say, “Wow!” when they see our lifestyle. 

I am personally on a quest to wow people with the way that I live my life. However, I don’t want people to say, “Wow! Look at Jeff!” Rather, I want people to say, “Wow! Look at the God that Jeff serves! If King Jesus can do amazing things like that in Jeff’s life, then perhaps he can do the same in my life.”

Wow’ing people with the way you live is a life lived for the glory of God.  This kind of life deserves to be put on display in the Louvre museum for the world to see. This is what a living sacrifice for the glory of our great God looks like. Here are a few thoughts from a recent sermon on why it’s so important for our church to Wow Folks.

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Further reading

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