Psalm 145:10-13, 17-18
Saint Bartholomew, Apostle (Feast)
Here is a true child of Israel. (John 1:47)
Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings in history. Art historians have analyzed it for generations. But most people don’t want to study the painting—they just want to look at it. For da Vinci captured the uniqueness and beauty of his subject in a way that few artists ever have. You could say he painted the “real” Mona Lisa!
Notice how Jesus was also like an artist here. He saw Nathanael—also known as Bartholomew, the saint of today’s feast—under a fig tree. But Jesus saw Nathanael not just as he looked from the outside: he saw into his heart. He understood that Nathanael was without “duplicity,” a forthright man who didn’t care about other people’s opinions (John 1:47). He also saw Nathanael’s future. He knew that Nathanael would become his disciple and would see the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy. He would know Jesus not just as king, but as Savior and Lord as well.
God also sees us, just the way a careful viewer sees the Mona Lisa. He sees inside our hearts and knows our best qualities: whether we are sincere, like Nathanael, or compassionate or encouraging or filled with zeal to spread the gospel. Yes, he also sees those areas that need work, maybe our selfishness or our pride. But he sees these not as permanent flaws but as parts of his painting that still need some work. No matter what is there, he still considers us his masterwork, his pride and joy.
But be careful not to think of yourself as just a piece of canvas that God is painting on. You have the amazing privilege of working with him. You have a hand in the painting of this masterpiece as you cooperate with him. You can decide how it will turn out! Maybe you’ll shine with the light of compassion for the needy. Maybe you will manifest deep faithfulness in trying situations. Maybe you’ll exhibit the modest smile of a prayerful, peaceful spirit. So don’t listen to any harsh, condemning voice! You are God’s “good work,” and he will continue to guide you until that work is done (Philippians 1:6).
“Lord, you are the potter—but I am much more than clay. Help me to love your people with all my heart, mind, and strength.”~WAU