“A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.” Proverbs 18:16
There is little that so affects a man and his sphere as that of persistence, especially persistence to an ideal or a talent, when success appears elusive and when discouragement and despondency are bounteous. We’re all called to be faithful, to endure, to use the gifts that God has given us.
Chances are we will be disappointed, for few people experience success as quickly and as abundantly as is desired. Very likely we will fail to have the outcome we had planned. Few of us will be recognized around the world, or even in our city; maybe not even on our block.
Setbacks claw our backs. Defeat, flops and duds might just strike a scrawl over our plan sheet…and on our report form. Ours is to persist; to keep striving, to keep hammering and praying and visiting and witnessing and preaching and studying and singing and smiling and crying. That’s our job, and we’re getting it done. We’re having success, and although it is possible we will never observe it, we are making our mark.
Vincent Van Gogh was a brilliantly talented man, a painter who between November 1818 and July 1890 produced more than 900 paintings. During his short life of 37 years, he only sold one small piece. Now, his works are virtually priceless. I’ve listed here the selling price of four of them. Recall, he left more than 900 paintings…worth billions, but he never knew how successful he was.
Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers 39.5 million
Irises 53.9 million
Portrait of Doctor Gachet 82.5 million
Self-Portrait (Without Beard) 71.5 million
Got your gifts out and working? Sharpened up your talents lately? Are you persevering, kicking aside discouragement, hopelessness and fatigue?
When I was a child, a man named Brother Snow used to testify in church, saying, “Pray for me that I’ll go the last smile of the way.” This humble man wasn’t trying to be funny; he was just a little mixed up, really wanting to say, “Pray for me that I’ll go the last mile of the way.”
He never knew it was to be, but the works of Vincent van Gogh have caused him to stand before great men. And the promise is yours, and mine, too, if we persevere, if we keep trudging, continue walking, seeing to our gifts…for one day soon, that bumpy rocky trail will be the last mile…and we will stand…before Him.
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