An American artist went abroad to study and work in the shadows of the famed artists of his day. Though he was indeed a gifted artist, his works were relatively unknown to the broader world of art. Though he sold paintings enough to sustain himself, he had one portrait that he considered his best work. He sent it to the Royal Academy in London for consideration for exhibit. It was rejected. It was returned to his studio where it remained for 10 years, unsold. A friend with some influence at the Royal Academy got the curator to display it briefly, but even at a price of $350.00 no one wanted it.
For three more years it stayed back in the artist’s studio unwanted, unsold. It was finally displayed more prominently in a Paris art salon, and was purchased for $600.00. It was then displayed at the Luxembourg Museum. In 1922, the painting moved from the Luxembourg to the Louvre, elevating its status to one of the great works of art of its time.
Now, you cannot buy this painting at any price. Its title is, Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1. We all know it better as, Whistler’s Mother. It has become one of the most well-known paintings of all time. James Abbott McNeill Whistler is much less recognized than his one famous work, the painting of the one person he said that he said he knew loved him, his mother.
The Apostle Paul often emphasized the importance of our work, our service to our Lord, more than our own personal promotion. We will one day see the weighing of our works. Of the saints spoken of in Revelation we read; Rev. 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. Our work, like the artist’s, should magnify the One who most truly loved us, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.