By ANTONIO MACK
As far back as I can recall, I’ve always been creative and ambitious. First were the music years, which began in my youth and lasted until my early adulthood. During this time, I released three mixtapes, performed shows, had articles written about me, and even gained a special fan who became my wife. Then there were the photography years, which started in my teens. In this time, I became the lead photographer for a university, traveled across the country to teach a workshop of students, did work for multiple magazines, and attained many other achievements. In addition, by the time I was 23, I had created multiple businesses, initiatives and groups that had all done great.
In every phase of life, I always found myself creating, accomplishing goals, and establishing new things. It was something that was just a part of me. It was so easy for me to begin something new and excel in it that the thought of ending something never even bothered me because I knew I could always do an entirely new thing. This, however, caused me to ponder: How many times would I start a new endeavor, and why was I always so driven and successful in whatever I did, yet never satisfied enough to remain in it?
The answer began unfolding one morning while I was at the pinnacle of my success. It was during my time as a photographer, when I was a few months into my journey of seeking God deeply for the first time, that something strange happened. I heard God speak clearly to me, and His words were striking. He told me to stop doing photography. What was even more strange was that without a struggle, I stopped that day and never booked another appointment.
Years went by, and out of a desire to make more income, I began another business, only this time, I did it with my wife! We had a specific financial goal that we were after. A few months into the business, God surprisingly blessed us with a financial increase of the exact amount that we had created the business for — only He did it through another avenue. I couldn’t help but ask myself, what was God trying to tell me, and why did I have these talents and abilities if God would continue forbidding me to use them? I even started to wonder if I had them in vain.
Then one day it all began to make sense. These talents and abilities weren’t pointless; they were simply misguided. All along, I’d been using the things God had gifted me with for worldly ambitions. I had used them for money, success and even sin, but rarely for God.
What was true of God knowing Jeremiah and having a purpose for him before his conception was also true of me, but I was unaware of what this purpose was. This had led to a life of creating my own paths for how my talents were to be used. The reality was, I hadn’t really looked at how I wanted the days of my life to be consumed, and more importantly, I hadn’t looked at how God wanted the days of my life to be consumed.
So for the last time, I shut down another business, but this time with a clear understanding of why I was given the ability to create a business in the first place. I finally saw that God had given me all these abilities for His glory, and I found ways to use my creativity and ambitions to help spread the gospel! This includes producing media to inspire believers in their walks with God, and applying skills that I’ve learned in business for operational things in ministry. I’ve also been assigned to do photography and media projects for a missions organization that I’m serving with. My first project is scheduled for spring 2022 in west Africa.
My story is not unique. God has a purpose for us all, and if you too look closely, you might discover how the measures of grace that God gives us can be misguided and used for the wrong reasons.
Antonio Mack is a Jackson native and disciple of Jesus. His ministry focuses on inspiring others to live in pursuit of God. He is also a proud husband, father to-be and graphic designer.