Imagine you walked into my house and on my wall was an original Vincent Van Gogh painting. You would probably assume I was either very wealthy or I was an art thief because Van Gogh’s paintings are virtually priceless.  You might also assume that Van Gogh enjoyed a life of fame and riches.  But that wasn’t at all the life he enjoyed.

During his lifetime, Vincent was basically unknown. His parents ridiculed him for his failures. He almost never became an artist at all.  He planned to be a preacher, but only after that didn’t work out did he pursue painting. Incredibly, Van Gogh thought his most famous painting, The Starry Night,  was terrible. Because of this insecurity, Vincent painted over many of his paintings.  Who knows How many more masterpieces are hidden underneath the layers of blue and gray.  Like many of us, it seems he couldn’t see the positive impact his work would make.  He once wrote in a letter to his brother, “My only anxiety is how can I be of use in the world?”

Being talented, loving, kind, or even perfect does not guarantee that a person or their work will be appreciated.  Jesus was the sinless, prophesied savior of the world.  Yet, his chosen people ignored the prophecies as he fulfilled each and every one. The religious leaders called him a fraud and a blasphemer. His own disciples often misunderstood his teachings. People laughed at him when he did miracles, like raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Mark 5:38-40).  People accused Jesus of being crazy (Mark 3:20-21).  Others said he must have been possessed by a demon (John 10:19-20).

But, as we know, people often get things not just wrong, but completely backward (Isaiah 5:20).

It’s incredibly sad to think about the brilliance of Vincent Van Gogh being ignored until after his death. In a song titled “Vincent,” Don McLean highlights the baffling nature of Van Gogh’s obscurity.  Perhaps the most heartbreaking line in that song is: “But I could have told you, Vincent, this world was never meant for one As beautiful as you.”

It’s a hard reality to accept that something as beautiful as Vincent’s paintings could be overlooked or ridiculed.  But this is also the world that crucified the Son of God because he didn’t fit their expectations for a savior.  So, for the people who wouldn’t accept Jesus while he was on earth…and those who refuse him still, there will come a day when they will sing “Now, I understand what you tried to say to me.  How you suffered for your sanity; How you tried to set us free.  We would not listen, we did not know how.  Perhaps they’ll listen now.”-Darrell



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