Since I decided once again to get involved in photography, especially weddings and portraits, I have been outfitting myself for the task. I tried to be diligent and research everything as well as I could, to minimize bad purchases, and make my capital as effective as possible. As I am sitting here looking at all this stuff, as well as my computers, monitors, printers, and everything else in my office I want you to realize they are all just tools. Expensive, complicated tools, but in the end no different than the tools Jesus may have used in his carpentry business. They are a means to an end, not an end in themselves.
This is an important point. I am not wedded to any of this equipment. I am tied to what I can do with it, the results it can help me produce. Other than the time and aggravation it would involve, I could lose it all tomorrow and start over. As I considered the ramifications of that way of looking at things, I realized that it did not and should not stop with my camera and computer equipment. It should apply to everything I own, including the cars, house, and everything else. They are also just tools, means to accomplish the things we need to do in life. When they become more than that, that is when they become problems.
When my wife and I got married the Gospel read at our wedding was Matthew 6:25-33. The preceding chapter is all about relationships, the way we treat each other by what we do. It contains the Beatitudes and discussions about anger, lust, divorce, retaliation, and loving our enemies. Chapter six begins with the needy, goes on to the Lord’s Prayer, and then deals with our possessions (our treasures) and our anxiousness and concern over these things.
The key phrase leading up to that section of chapter six is in verse 21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” There is an important assumption being made, that we all have treasures, things we hold dear. It is considered a given. What the scripture challenges us with is whether the things that are dear to us are temporary or eternal, dust or everlasting. Do they slip through our fingers with the passage of time or are they safely held in the hands of Jesus for all eternity.
Tools are temporary and in the end just useful dust. Treasure them and they will drain out of your grasp, pouring between your fingers. They will wear out, break down, become obsolete or insignificant, because after all, they are just tools, wedded to a task; they should never be wedded to you.
I guess that is why I like photography, especially the type I have chosen to do. It is an attempt to capture a bit of the eternal: a person, a relationship, a moment in a life. These endure and the good moments can endure for eternity.
Respect your tools, take good care of them, but never mistake them for real treasures. Those are your wife, your family, your friends, the people who God brings into your life and the relationships we have with them. In the end everything is about relationships, starting with God and expressed through those who pass through our lives, even if it is only for the moment it takes to record their specialness through the lens of a camera.
With that in mind, here are a few pictures I took recently that illustrate my point.
A Boy and His Food
A Boy and His Older Brother
These are simple pictures, but they capture a moment, the people, and that is different than the tools used to aquire them.
Grace and peace and God’s blessing on your efforts to make all your treasures eternal ones.