A visit to an art museum is not on everybody’s bucket list. I enjoy them. I don’t want to spend every weekend staring at paintings, but it can be an occasional welcome diversion. While classical art is fine, I’m especially intrigued by modern art.
Let me be clear. I didn’t say I liked modern art; I am intrigued by it. Admittedly, there are some pieces I think are cool, but usually I stare at some modern piece with one of these questions in my head:
- What is it?
- Why is this called art?
- Someone paid money for this?
- Can I get that paint color from Sherwin-Williams?
My parents took my sisters and me to an art museum once when I was around ten. Only once. As we walked up the stairs to the second floor, on the stairway wall was a huge canvas of gray. Just large splotches of gray. With my refined sense of art, I said, “It looks like an elephant threw up.”
That was the last time my parents took me to an art museum.
Now it’s your turn to be an art critic. What do you think of this?
This was created by a Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, and it is called New York City. (It is supposed to resemble the skyline of New York, but it makes me think of Cincinnati.) It was completed in 1941, and over the years, it has been displayed in several museums. For the last 43 years, it has been displayed at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen—upside-down.
For decades, this work of art has been upside down and nobody noticed! But you’re wondering the same thing I am: how can you tell? It took the eagle eye of curator Susanne Meyer-Büser who saw old photos of the art to discover the error. Of course, other art experts are now jumping on the bandwagon and saying the error is obvious.
And I’m left with the question: Does it matter?
People live their lives upside down, not realizing they were created to live right side up. We were created with purpose and design, and out of His love for us, God made plans for us to live an abundant joy-filled life in His presence. But we messed that up when we choose to live life our own way.
In the pages of Scripture, God shows us the way back to Him and the life He created us for. But most of us continue to follow our own path and live “upside-down.” Some people will view life as I view Mondrian’s upside-down artwork: Does it really matter?
Yes, it does matter. It may not matter with art, but you are not just some piece of canvas. You were created in God’s image, and you are His masterpiece (Eph. 2:10). His design for you is perfect, and when you seek to live under the hand of the Master Artist, you discover a meaning to life that living apart from Him cannot match.
I’m grieved that so many people live their lives upside-down from what God intended and don’t know it. And it is especially grievous when people know of God’s desire for them, but they willingly choose to live upside-down.
Critics of the Christian faith will argue that it doesn’t matter. “Who are we to tell someone they’ve got life upside-down? If they’re happy, let them be. Live and let live. It doesn’t matter.”
It will matter to them one day. One day each of us will stand before God, but only those who are “right-side-up,” living upright according to God’s standard, will remain standing. As Jesus said:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
Maybe it’s time to turn the frame around and see life from a whole new perspective, the way God intended.
“He stores up success for the upright; He is a shield for those who live with integrity” (Prov. 2:7).
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13).
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