Our manager went around and asked us the other day, “Why do you like working in this industry?”
My real answer was, “I don’t.” My true aspirations are to one day be able to support myself completely a writer, actor, and creator, and in the mean time I work any job I can find to make a little extra cash. My manager knew this. What kind of stupid question was that? I don’t like working in the restaurant business, I have to.
As we went around the table though, I listened to some people who were there because the hospitality industry is their career of choice. I listened to five or six of my co-workers unpack why they do what they do. After I made up a somewhat BS answer and we finally got to work, I spent the rest of my shift reflecting on that question of why from an artistic point of view.
To me, the question of why is probably to most important question an artist needs to ask themselves every single day. In a world where the human spirit longs to do something greater than themselves, something that provides for the needs of his or her fellow man, nothing can be more seemingly narcissistic than wanting to be a writer and an actor. People paying to read my words, and to see me on stage, just so they can applaud me, and write me some good reviews. Unless the question of why is asked, all artist run the risk of slipping into this narcissistic bubble.
Johann Sebastian Bach was one of the greatest composers to ever live. His hundreds of musical works, including what is popularly known as “Here Comes the Bride,” could serve as an easy excuse to reserve all praise and fame for himself. Bach, though, we a master at answering the question of why. At the bottom of every work he ever published he signed it “to the glory of God alone.”
You see, what Bach knew is that the gifts he used to create such heart stopping melodies were just that, gifts, given to him by the Creator of the world for the purpose to using them to give that Creator glory. Bach understood the answer to the question of why? Why do we write? Why do we act? Why do we sing, account, serve, drive, or practice law? There are many reasons why we do what we do. It brings us joy. It makes us money. We’re hoping to marry our boss and get more money.
The most important reason, the “so that” that belongs at the end of each and every thing we create is simply this…to the glory of God. This is the driving force that can fuel each and every life, and it’s a much more dependent fuel to run on than our own. My own personal, relational, or financial gain is just the icing. The real cake, the real reward, the real reason, is giving glory to God alone.
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