Since starting this bog, I’ve used it primarily to share others’ stories, their advice. But today I want to share from the heart a question that has been weighing on me. How does God judge the success of a movie?
Our society judges success by fame and fortune. A successful film is one that does well at the box office and in DVD sales. As Christians, we may give it a spiritual slant by defining success as one in which many lives are changed. But is this God’s measuring stick?
Now, I’m not saying that box office success and DVD sales and multitudes of changed lives are bad. But what if a movie never played in theaters? What if it never got distributed? What if, in fact, not one person outside of cast and crew ever saw it? Would that mean the movie makers failed? Perhaps. Or perhaps not. What if God used that movie and/or the filmmaking experience to impact the lives of the cast and crew? Or maybe even just one person on that cast and crew? Would it be worth it?
Movie reviewers rate films on technical quality, acting, and story. They want movies that are fresh, new, captivating, and, of course, overall well done. We should all be striving for those standards in our movies. But what if the actors are stiff and the story is simple? What if the picture is sometimes out of focus and the sound isn’t pristine? Can God still use the movie? I believe He can.
I recently sat through a children’s choir performance. The children were definitely amateurs. They were wiggly. They were easily distracted. Sometimes they screamed. Sometimes they forgot their words. They were often off-key. Yet, as I watched the audience, I could see that lives were blessed by those children’s awkward attempts at music.
God’s ways are not our ways. He sent His son into the world, not into a palace, but a stable. He told simple stories to the masses. He used a motley crew of fishermen and uneducated folks to spread His gospel. He went out of His way into a foreign country just to speak to one sinful woman. The people back then didn’t understand His ways. And they still don’t.
As filmmakers, we should strive for filmmaking excellence. Like everything else we do, we should do it for His glory, which means giving it our best. We need to go into every production with our hearts right with God. We should be producing films not to achieve fame and fortune, but because we feel that God has given us a story and called us to share it via the medium of film.
For some of us God will use our films to literally change the world. For others of us, God will use our films to change individual lives. For most of us, we’ll never know the full impact until the day we meet with Him face to face. In the meantime, all we can do is to continue to follow Him, doing what He has called us to do.
To God be the glory great things He has done!