“One of the dangers of having a lot of money is that you may be quite satisfied with the kinds of happiness money can give, and so fail to realize your need for God. If everything seems to come simply by signing checks, you may forget that you are at every moment totally dependent on God.” – C. S. Lewis
Do our motivations for creating matter to God? Proverbs 16:2 tells us that, “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”
The world tells us that the purpose of work is to accumulate fame and fortune for ourselves. The meta-narrative of work today is that it is the primary means by which we make a name for ourselves in this life and prove to the world that we are important, valuable, and worthy.
For the Christian, the work of Jesus Christ should be the ultimate measure of value of our life, not the relative fame and fortune we accumulate through our work. C. S. Lewis appears to have understood this truth deeply. Even at the height of his success as an author, Lewis never appeared to clamour for the spotlight, and he lived a relatively modest lifestyle. After Lewis’s death in 1963, people came out of the woodwork to share how incredibly generous Lewis was with his wealth. As Lewis’s stepson, Douglas Gresham, put it in his excellent book, Lenten Lands, “No tramp or beggar would be turned away empty-handed by [Lewis]. Although convinced of his own poverty, he would gladly give to anyone who asked.”
Ever since Adam and Eve bit into the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden, we have been trying to cover up our sin nature, not with fig leaves, but with our accomplishments. We think that if we become a millionaire, sign a record deal, get 100,000 Instagram followers, or write a classic novel like The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, then we’ll be able to mask our human condition. Essentially, we use our work as a means of saving ourselves.
But as Christians, we know that the work of salvation is complete and that brings an entirely different motivation to our work! Because Jesus said, “It is finished,” we no longer have to use our work as a means of saving ourselves. Like Lewis, the gospel frees us to create for the pure joy of creating, not seeking fortune or fame, but the fame of the One who has called us to create.
CS Lewis; The Call to Create