200 Pomegranates and an Audience of One: Creating a Life of Meaning and Influence
By: Shawn Wood (@shawnwood)
I don’t remember how I came across this book, but I am very glad I did. It was just the spiritual pick me up I needed when I found it. I wasn’t really sure what to expect going in, esspecially from the title. My wife loves pomegranates, I on the other hand, am not a fan. I know their a super food and I should like them, but they’re not for me. Super foods is not what this book is about, but it did give me an appreciation for the beauty of a pomegranate.
The book dissects a story from 1Kings, which I either missed or glossed over in all the “begots” and “son ofs”. It’s the story of a bronze worker, Huram of Tyre. Huram was a craftsman who was asked by King Solomon to help construct the temple in Jerusalem. How he went about his craft, he created art and is an inspiration for us.
Author Shawn Wood lays out in the book that we are all artists. Whether we play an instrument, paint, or raise our kids. We are an artist performing for an audience of one.
“No longer is art limited to painters and musicians. Each one of us is an artist, endowed by our Creator with skills and talents that can make our world a more beautiful.”
Since we’re all artists, Shawn explains through Huram’s story we a have a mandate as artists, the five essential components of life-artistry:
- Get great at something
- Do something with that talent
- Invest yourself in things that will last and that others will benefit from
- Work for an audience of one, because sometimes our best work is seen only by God
- Finish what you start If everyone is an artist then life itself is a grand work of art.
“The problem is many of us are trying to get great at the wrong things— and some of us are trying to get great at everything. We battle to become great at so many things that it seems like we focus on things in which we are not proficient to the exclusion of that one thing that is really our gift. We will have the opportunity to be good at many things in our lives, and most of the time “good enough” really is good enough. But in a few areas of our lives, God really does equip and call us to be great.”
Like I said before, I needed this book right when I got it, God knew I needed a reminder that I was right where He wanted me. He’s placed me where I can be GREAT for Him. I could work anywhere (maybe not a hospital, I’m squeamish) to provide for my family. I may not be good at it, but I’d be good enough. Well God is not satisfied with “good enough” from me in the area of my ministry and is empowering me to be great.
“But in order to get great at something, it seems that God intends for us to build upon the foundation of skills and wisdom that he has given us, and not just daydream of skills and talents that we wish we had. He intends for us to use the greatness that he has given us to serve.”
For many years I had thought God had called me to be a great audio guy. To use my skills of mixing and technology for His glory, which is true, He wants me to do that. Those skills were just what I needed to get in the door, He wants me to serve Him by serving His people. Suddenly realizing that I am honing my skills not for my benefit but for God’s glory. It’s a real eye opener!
“There comes a point in your life where you have to decide if you will continue to live a life centered on yourself or if you will make the difficult choice of investing in things that will last.”
The book is a short and an enjoyable read. It’s under 150 pages, so it really sets you up for success on mandate number five: “Finish what you start…”
Read these few verses below about Huram’s work:
“First he cast two pillars in bronze, each twenty-seven feet tall and eighteen feet in circumference. He then cast two capitals in bronze to set on the pillars; each capital was seven and a half feet high and flared at the top in the shape of a lily. Each capital was dressed with an elaborate filigree of seven braided chains and a double row of two hundred pomegranates, setting the pillars offmagnificently. He set the pillars up in the entrance porch to The Temple; the pillar to the south he named Security (Jachin) and the pillar to the north Stability (Boaz). The capitals were in the shape of lilies. (1 Kings 7: 15-22)”
Much like the “Begots” I would have just passed right over this scripture. Shawn writes:
“God, through the writer of 1 Kings, relates the minutia of each and every one of Huram’s actions. Why does it matter how intricate these carvings were, and what the exact size of each bowl was, and where the pomegranates were located, and that there were two hundred of them?”
It matters because God cares about the details. God, did not create the Heavens and the Earth and say, “eh, it’s ok” no He said it was good and He cared for every single detail, even ones known only to Him.
Needless to say this book changed my ministry mindset. It made me realize why I am doing what I’m doing and that God wants me to not take pride in my work but to take pride in Him for who I’m doing the work for.
Go and get this book, unleash your inner artist and ask yourself:
“What are you creating?”