THE SUNDAY SERMONETTE: Failure and Rejection.

“Cart this back to the quarry if you want to,” a struggling Renaissance sculptor said, putting down his hammer and chisel in exasperation. “This block of marble’s useless.” And then it sat for 24 years, exposed to the elements in a church’s backyard until another Renaissance sculptor said, “Bring it to my shop. I see someone struggling to get out of the marble. ”

“Orchard with Cypresses. Sold! For 117,180,000 million!” The harsh wooden thump of the auctioneer’s gavel echoed through a New York auction house in 2022. An observer at the auction was overheard saying. “Not a bad price for a colorblind artist. His paintings were mocked and considered repetitious renderings of other artist’s styles.”

One sculptor saw nothing in a massive block of marble and gave up. Michelangelo created a sculpted masterpiece from it because he knew he could when others said he couldn’t. Van Gogh was laughed at, his canvases rejected as nothing more than blobs of paint, but he knew he could paint. When others failed to believe in these two artists, that unbelief motivated them to prove everyone wrong.

When self-doubt rambled around in his head, Van Gogh famously said: “If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” And it was! Think of all his masterpieces—splashes and dashes of paint ablaze with color and writhing with life.

When Michelangelo struggled concerning his talents and thought of giving up, he prayed, “Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.” And that he did, creating marble statues that seemingly breathe, along with a ceiling alive with a thousand eyes staring down at the observer in all their frescoed brilliance.

When you feel as if no one believes in you, follow the examples of Van Gogh and Michelangelo. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not smart or talented enough to make your dreams a reality. Their negativity should motivate you to prove them wrong! Turn your positive thinking into positive action.

This old world is full of negative people. Some overcome it, wishing to help others. However, most enjoy being negative, and as they wallow in the muddy mud of their negativity, they savor throwing that mud in the faces of their family and friends, hoping to smear it into their lives as well.

It’s hard not to let the mud-throwers affect you. But you owe it to yourself to ignore them! Wash that mud off your face! Your clean face and radiant smile will tell them you’ve moved on to a better life. Your optimism, positive thoughts, talents, and actions will be a beacon to the world.

Once you’ve moved on, thank Father God that you did. And don’t forget to thank Him for the unique talents He’s given you and others. Talents to create great works of beauty. Skills to soothe those who are hurting. A knack for loving those who no one loves. Abilities to heal the sick, both physically and mentally.

But greater than all of these is the talent He gives us to tell the world about His love. Never forget His love for His children in a negative world gone mad. He loved Van Gogh. He loved Michelangelo. And He loves you!

Ponder this and go forth.

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