Did you ever have a class that frustrated you in school? How about a particular teacher? Maybe their view on things differed from yours. Or maybe their treatment of a certain subject or student really got on your nerves.

If you’re like me, those memories have lingered with you.

One of my most frustrating seasons during high school was in art class. Now mind you, I loved art. And I really had a soft spot for all of my art teachers. Even the crazies. (I know you had a few, too). But it wasn’t art class itself that bothered me. It was subjective versus objective analysis that did.

I was a late bloomer in math. But once I bloomed, I was a straight “A” student. Unusual for a right-brained kid. And when the teacher graded the tests, a problem was either solved correctly, or it wasn’t. But in art, the grading seemed very subjective. I remember getting incredibly frustrated when my teacher would give one student a fabulous mark on a piece that I thought was “all right,” while the student who produced something truly exceptional was handed a “C.”


That’s because art, in its most simple form, is subjective.

Yeah, I know a particular teaching (and resulting assignment) can focus on a specific rule or technique. Rule of thirds. Pointillism. Contrast. Minimalism. But at the end of the day, art, unlike math, has no right answers. It simply is. And so the very notion that a teacher could pass or fail a student by what simply is drove me bonkers. Later on I would learn that my art teachers graded very much like God does, but not nearly as well.

Most of us want God to grade life like math. Right or wrong. Pass or fail. Black or white. I want God to be fair. For bad people to get what they deserve, and good people more so. The only problem is that God is not fair.

But He is just.

Justice is doing the right thing for the right person at the right time. And the only person who ever knows that perfectly is the Holy Spirit. The inherent human problem with administering justice, unlike the Holy Spirit, is that we’re not very good at delivering it. Because we never have all the information all the time, now matter how much we think we do. But God always does.

The wall art hanging around my house is a perfect example of this.

The crumpled, ripped, and drooled on papers lining the refrigerator doors and walls of my house would last about 5 seconds under the scrutiny of any art museum curator. “Cute” is about all I’d get. That’s fair. But it’s not just. Because the museum curator has no idea that they were made by my kids, and as a result, have incredible intrinsic value. To me.

Regardless of what the world perceives, from your motives to your efforts to your productivity, they will always have limited information. Always. There is an all-seeing God, however, who doesn’t miss a beat. He sees it all, and He knows you. You’re offering Him your time, your talent, your treasure. From your marriage to your attitude with your boss, He knows. And trust me, whatever you’re offering to Him, no matter what the world’s standards are, it means the world to Him.

And it’s hanging on His fridge right now. ch:


Millard · 8 Jan ’11 at 11:38 pm

I love it how God sees, it’s really comforting sometimes πŸ™‚

    Christopher Hopper · 8 Jan ’11 at 11:46 pm

    Keeps me flying straight and level. Where would we be without him?

Sarah · 8 Jan ’11 at 11:54 pm

That very concept is the whole reason why I went into math and not English. I love the way you use it illustrate God’s grace and mercy. Very true and insightful.

    Christopher Hopper · 9 Jan ’11 at 8:05 am

    I didn’t know that, but makes sense! Thanks, Sarah.

Renie · 9 Jan ’11 at 12:11 am

I love this reflection and completely identify with the whole art class frustration. Believe it or not this was something I really needed to note and see right now where I am in my personal sojourn. Cheers and blessings, thank you.

    Christopher Hopper · 9 Jan ’11 at 8:09 am

    Man, so glad to know this is timely for you, Reenie. Thank you. Love to you and your tribe.

    Christopher Hopper · 10 Jan ’11 at 8:01 am

    Ha, and I thought this was Reenie from my church…but she commented…and you have one “e” in your name. Well, the blessing to you and your tribe, whoever they are, still applies!

Heidi Harris · 9 Jan ’11 at 12:33 am

I just love this! You are one of the few bloggers I actually take time to read! What you put into words is Always so so good!! Miss you and Jenny’s face across from the breakfast table at Cracker Barrel!

    Christopher Hopper · 9 Jan ’11 at 8:08 am

    That is one of the kindest compliments I could ask for. All the more reason to really think through these posts when I wrote. Thank you, Heidi. And we miss you too; it’s been far too long!

wayne thomas batson · 9 Jan ’11 at 12:48 am

Beautiful, man. Really needed this today. I still remember a drawing I did in preschool and this teacher told me it was so creative. That made a BIG difference to me. To imagine God putting my picture on his fridge makes me want to weep out of gratitude.

    Christopher Hopper · 9 Jan ’11 at 8:07 am

    Teachers have no idea how much their one-liners affect students; amazing. Thanks Wayne, glad I could help. Appreciate you.

matt harris · 9 Jan ’11 at 7:22 pm

Great post!!!!! I am so thankful for God’s love. After 26 years of knowing God, it has come down to His love for me, and His love for everyone. Simple, Basic, Pure. I love that the simple things we do are hangin on His fridge.
Also on the art note, I am often frustrated as I see genuinely mediocre “artist” propelled above incredibly talented artist, because of money or an industry. I feel in my heart that it is time for God given artists to be ready, because not only does God want to hang our art on His fridge, He wants to hang out the simple, pure, creative to a world that has become so over stimulated by the fake and mundane. Shine out everybody for the Father’s glory!!!!!!
CH, I still love your guts, rock it in 2011

    Christopher Hopper · 9 Jan ’11 at 8:06 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, Matt. I feel such a need to sound a clarion call, erupting from a generation that hears and sees the expression of heaven and manifests it in the earth. As I heard Christian artist say recently, “Artists should paint the world as it should be.”

    I really believe you’re doing that, Matt. You are such an example of divine creativity married with countless hours perfecting your craft. There is truly something to be said for heaven breathing on hard work and devotion. Keep doing what you’re doing. And I hope 2011 we get to reconnect somewhere.

    Much love, bro. ch:

Christopher Miller · 9 Jan ’11 at 8:12 pm

Great post. Man looks on the outside but the Lord looks at the heart!

    Christopher Hopper · 9 Jan ’11 at 8:27 pm

    That seems to be a theme scripture for the last few weeks; interesting you quoted it. (1 Samuel 16:7)

jamie · 9 Jan ’11 at 10:13 pm

Thank You for your Heart and Sharing it …This spoke to me on so many levels .Thanking God That No matter what ..I matter to Him!

reenie · 10 Jan ’11 at 12:18 am

Hey Christopher looks like you have two Reenie(s) Renie and me Reenie Bovier…. Just read this today – Love the way art flows through your words – God is amazingly just and asks us to do the same “He has shown thee oh man ~ what is good and what the Lord requires of thee – to love mercy, show justice and walk humbly before thy God.” The only way to get God’s view on justice is to ask Him who is and knows all to reveal what we need when we need it …and He promises to do so ” Call on me and I will answer you and tell you all the unsearchable things that you could not know.” We want right and wrong Math and Science answers when often as you have pointed out He gives us English and Art answers that are more designed to teach us in the moment and help us to LIVE, rather than have a critical death verdict- Yes Sin is always sin, that won’t ever change ~ but hopefully with the revelations of the Lord we will. God wants to show us our errors in a way that reveals his truth and WHO HE IS , so that we will change and become the Art (if you will ) piece he has so carefully crafted. That the offering that we give him is returned from what he has so given to us that we would magnify the Lord. We are the art of His hands ….and maybe that is why he is so SUBJECT(ive) Because he looks at the subject, the heart of HIS child and even when the offering seems ” less ” than He can’t help but be touched- just like a daddy looking at the drooly drawings of his children. Love this one Christopher it is a great reminder of how God sees us and loves us. I personaly loved the classes where there wasn’t one right answer- just makes life that more interesting doesn’t it ???? Love you and yours !!!!

Christian Fahey · 17 Jan ’11 at 6:56 pm

Kudos C. This was really well put. Thanks and keep it up!

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