An elderly woman bought a small painting of a Russian bride in Moscow 60 years ago. The painting hung in her small home for years. It brought back warm memories of years gone by and was pleasant to gaze at, but familiarity limited appreciation. It wasn’t until an art expert became aware of it’s existence that its full value became known. He identified the painting as the only known existing study done by the artist in preparation for completing a grand painting of a Russian wedding celebration. The small painting of the bride, while lovely to look at on its own, derived its true value from the master painting.
How can it be that God’s glory is in me? Knowing the story of this small Russian painting helps me understand the words of Jesus:
“All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.” John 17:10
We are the study, but ultimately we are part of the masterpiece which reveals the artist’s vision and personality.
“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:22-23
When I first sensed Jesus’s loving gaze and appreciation, I ceased being ordinary. My true value is not revealed in my solitary existence, but is derived from my role in His Masterpiece. Apart from the Masterpiece, the story I tell is limited. How blessed am I to know that I am the work of His hand!