We all have heard stories of great artists, writers, whomever, who for years toiled in obscurity and poverty, some getting fame and recognition only later in life or even after they died. One account of how hard it had been for some renowned painters was depicted in a book Van Gogh: The Life.
It says, “The storm finally broke in March 1875. Desperate for money, a group of the upstarts (including Monet and Renoir) arranged to sell some of their controversial works at the city’s central auction house, the Hotel Drouot. The event sparked a near riot of outrage. Spectators howled insults at the art and artists. As each work came on the block, they mocked it; and then when it sold for pennies—fifty francs for a Monet landscape—they cheered in derision. ‘That’s for the frame!’ one yelled. The auctioneer feared that the frenzied crowd ‘would take me off to a lunatic asylum,’ he recalled. ‘They treated us like imbeciles!’ So ugly did the event become that the organizers had to call the police to prevent the mêlée from breaking out into fistfights.”
Did you catch the names of some of the “upstarts”? Renoir? Monet? Their work, deemed so bad, besides facing derision and mockery almost caused a riot. Today the same works are deemed masterpieces, worth millions.
This story makes me think of some verses that Paul wrote. He talked about how, even at the present, he and his workers were hungry, thirsty, and homeless and then said: “We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now” (1 Corinthians 4:13).
Filth? Offscouring? Paul, now unquestionably one of the most influential writers in all human history, and one of the most famous and revered people as well?
What this should tell us is that we, as Christians, as believers, shouldn’t look for the approbation, the praise and approval of the world, which often gets it so wrong anyway. We should be faithful to God, obey His commandments, love others, and leave the rest into the Lord’s hands.
After all, what did Jesus say? “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19).
Words to ponder, for sure.