Is It Sacrilegious to Sell Christian Faith-Based Art?

First, What is sacrilegious?

Sacrilegious is when something that is considered Holy by a religious authority is disrespected or not held in the respect of being sacred.
I remember when I was eight years old I was scolded for dancing to church music.
Being confused about that it was music and upbeat music at that. I couldn’t understand or
comprehend why I couldn’t dance to church music.
This past event stuck with me for majority of my life. When it came to walking in the Christian faith, I began placing my talents into a closed box not wanting to offend my spiritual maker.
After much prayer, investigating and biblical study, I realized there was a clear distinction between walking in a fear (respect) of the revelation of God than walking in a fear of organized religious by-laws concerning worship.
Not to bash any religious institutions rules and procedures, but when traditions and rules over shadow and retrain spiritual inclination, the ability to grow to new horizons in true revelation is hindered and indirectly grieve all purposeful possibilities in your life.

John 2:14 NKJV
Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” 17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten[a] Me up.”[b]
18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”
19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”
21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them;[c] and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.

This scripture really caused me to pause and rethink put my entrepreneur ambition hold. Until one day I receive a deeper and better understanding of this scripture.

As an Artist-Designer-Developer, I’ve always felt the need to honor my beliefs with the skills and knowledge the Lord has blessed me with. However, I’ve struggled with this one question: ” Should I charge for Christian based products and content?”
Below are three questions that has helped my decision on how to handle the marketplace when it comes to faith inspired merhandise.

What are your motives behind selling this/these items?

Motives behind doing anything is very important when it comes to the biblical word. 1 Samuel clearly states that God doesn’t look at the outer appearance of man but looks at the heart.
To know if you are in it for the money you will spend 80% percent of the time thinking about how much money can be made. This is compared to 20% of time contemplating what affect it will have on your target market group and if it is something you love to do. Matt. 6 :24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
However, if 80% of the time you’re thinking about others and investigating how to help others then it’s evident that money is not your motive.
But sometimes money is not the only obstacle that can narrow your motives when it comes to selling faith-based items. There is power, material possession, fame and popularity amongst other things.
The above list of things is not negative. In many aspects one constitutes the other. Jesus never salt any reputation for himself, but when you heal people from diseases with just a touch or being touched. Popularity and fame is going to happen, eventually. So, it’s best to put these motives in the right perspective and do a self-check to make sure your selling things for the right reasons.

Where do you plan to sell?

From the scripture above, Jesus is addressing those that are in the temple, the place of worship. Depending on how you look at things, whether metaphorically or realistically, the word temple serves both as a symbol of the human body and an actually built structure for worship. When Jesus cleansed the temple from the money exchanges, this event serves as reminder to beware that when Jesus enters your temple, expect there will a cleansing of motives.
Jesus cared less about what the money was going to be used for but more about where the money was being exchanged, which was on sacred ground. He had no issue with money or funds, but location is everything.

  • Specifically targeting only Christians or hanging around churches to sell your products is a key indicator that you are more concerned about the market than the beliefs underlining that market.
  • On the contrary, if you plan on allowing your audience to find you and not stalk them shows you are keeping a balanced spiritual perspective on where and how you should market.

What will you do with funds generated from sells?

It’s not totally clear if the funds from the money changers were helping fund the temple. But if money was being exchanged for oxen, sheep and doves, it’s highly believed that the ruling political authority was definitely getting their portion of the moneys by way of taxes. From biblical writings this is not wrong, but encouraged.
“Give what is to Ceasar’s, Caesar’s and what is to God, God’s.”

  • Thinking of the next pair of fresh sports gear or the next video game console you plan to purchase from money gain from selling that popular scripture branded t-shirt? Then this thinking may very well demonstrate a materialistic frame of mind that benefits one’s self.
  • Or are you asking could this money help someone else, feed a child or help a homeless family or even take care of members of your family going through difficult times; even when your struggling financially yourself. If this is the case, you’ve just leaned toward being a free giver.

The above are just a few questions that I use to gauge my motives, where I plan to place designs and what is the initial plans for funds gained. Asking myself the above questions, has guided me in design, how to price it or whether to give it away for free.

By no means are the above questions an end all or be all when comes to investigating one’s own spiritual convictions. We are all different and have different means of expressing our spiritual relationships. The above points are meant to help those that may have struggle with whether to start a business that involves a form of vocational Christian ministry.
If your selling Christian faith-based items I would like to hear your thoughts or advise in the comments below as well.

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