True authority is unmistakable to discerning eyes. In parallel to the subtle markers of wealth, the depth and potency of individual authority becomes evident through behavior when it is utilized to engineer progress, or used as an accessory to showcase value and importance. Likewise, for artists and creatives, levels of authority and influence range from the superficial, in the form of social media following, industry connections and affluence to the highest level towards affecting change of atmosphere and environments within the culture. In a marketplace that can sometimes work to stymie creative potential by hyper-focus on surface metrics, how can artists cultivate true creative power and authority?
Authority within any industry is traditionally cultivated and demonstrated through expertise and practitioner knowledge—however, authority can also be garnered through service and reverence of craft. By effectively servicing the needs of their audience, clients and environment, artists and creatives can cultivate true authority in their industries, as illustrated in the following account within scripture, in Christ’s response to his disciples during their debate as to which one of them should be thought of as the greatest:
“The kings of the pagans have power over their people, and the rulers claim the title ‘Friends of the People’. But this is not the way it is with you; rather, the greatest one among you must be like the youngest, and the leader must be like the servant. Who is greater, the one who sits down to eat or the one who serves? The one who sits down, of course. But I am among you as one who serves.”
This level of authority and power of influence is chronicled within scripture throughout Christ’s ministry, as captured in the account below, which follows Christ’s travel to Capernaum to teach on the Sabbath, and the casting out of an evil spirit from a man in attendance at the synagogue.
“They were all amazed at the way he taught, because he spoke with authority—and said to one another, “What kind of words are these? With authority and power this man gives orders to the evil spirits, and they come out!”
The authority that Christ carried was never wildly brandished or wielded to gain importance or fame or separate himself from the people he served. The authority that he carried was executed and demonstrated with a mindful, strategic directive, indicating a wealth and power that belied the human eye—a power of influence that existed and flourished independent of any cultural affiliation with political or religious hierarchies. Christ’s authority and power of influence was sourced through a self-assurance, confidence and understanding of his identity and creative purpose as the Son of Man and the Word of God, through his relationship with the Creator, to serve humanity.
Through service and a reverence for individual craft and gifts—and the undertaking of the daily offline disciplines to hone them—artists and creatives can further cultivate their authority and creative power towards affecting change towards the unification, beautification and illumination of the culture.