The story of the praying hands
About 1490 two young friends, Albrecht Durer and Franz Knigstein were struggling young artists. Since both were poor, they worked to support themselves while they studied art.
Work took so much of their time advancement was slow. Finally they reached an agreement: they would draw lots, and one of them would work to support both of them while the other would study art. Albrecht won and began to study, while Franz worked at hard labour to support them. They agreed that when Albrecht was successful he would support Franz who would then study art.
Albrecht went off to the cities of Europe to study. As the world now knows, he had not only talent but genius. When he had attained success, he went back to keep his bargain with Franz. But Albrecht soon discovered the enormous price his friend had paid. For as Franz worked at hard manual labour to support his friend, his fingers had become stiff and twisted. His slender, sensitive hands had been ruined for life. He could no longer execute the delicate brush strokes necessary to fine painting. Though his artistic dreams could never be realised, he was not embittered but rather rejoiced in his friend’s success.
One day Durer came upon his friend unexpectedly and found him kneeling with his gnarled hands intertwined in prayer, quietly praying for the success of his friend although he himself could no longer be an artist. Albrecht Durer, the great genius hurriedly sketched the folded hands of his faithful friend and later completed a truly great masterpiece known as ‘The Praying Hands”.
Today art galleries everywhere feature Albrecht Durer’s works, and this particular masterpiece tells an eloquent story of love, sacrifice, labour and gratitude. It has reminded multitudes the world around of how they may also find comfort, courage and strength. (Author unknown)
He would not give up
The Brooklyn Bridge, which links Brooklyn to Manhattan Island, is one of the most famous bridges in the world. At the time it was first conceived in 1883, however, bridge building experts through-out the world told the designer, a creative engineer by the name of John Roebling, that his idea wouldn’t work.
Roebling convinced his son Washington, who was also an engineer, that his idea had merit. The two of them developed the concept, resolved the problems others had forecast and enthusiastically hired a crew to build their bridge.
After only a few months of building, a tragic on-site accident took John’s life and severely injured his son Washington, who became unable to talk or walk. Everyone thought the project would have to be abandoned, since the Roeblings were the only ones who knew the dynamics of the bridge.
Washington, however, could still think, and he had a burning desire to see the bridge finished. As he lay in his hospital bed, he had an idea. He would communicate with the engineers by using one finger to tap out in code on his wife’s arm what he wanted her to tell them.
Washington tapped out his instructions for thirteen years until the bridge was built.
Leaders are not only self-starters, they are finishers.
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course…” (2Timothy 4:7 KJV)
The Perfect Peace
Once upon a time there was a king who offered a great prize to that artist who could capture in a picture the perfect peace. Many artists tried. The king observed and admired all the pictures, but there were only two that he really liked and he had to choose one of them. The first one was a very peaceful lake. This lake was a perfect mirror where some placid mountains that surrounded it were reflected. Above them was found a sky of pure blue with tenuous white clouds. All who saw this painting thought that this one reflected the perfect peace. The second painting also had mountains. But these ones were open and rugged.
On them there was a furious sky from which fell a impetuous downpour with thunder and bolts. Downhill seemed to resound a foamy torrent of water. All of this did not reveal in the least the peacefulness. But when the king observed carefully, he saw through the cascade a delicate bush growing in a rock crevice. In this bush was found a nest. There, in the midst of the roaring of the violent water fall, was placidly sat a little bird in the middle of its nest… perfect peace. The king chose the second one. Do you know why? The king explained, “Peace does not mean to be in a place without noise, without problems, without hard work and without pain. Peace means that despite of being in the midst of all these things we remain calm within our heart. This is the true meaning of peace.”
The Rose Within
A man bought a rose bush, and planted it in a pot. At first he watered it regularly. Soon the flower buds had begun to appear. But one day when he watered it, he tripped and fell against it. The thorns on the rose bush scratched him, and one actually stuck in his finger.
He muttered, “Stupid shrub!! Nothing but thorns!!” So he stopped watering it. The first flowers soon appeared, but he still didn’t water it, and when the dry spell came, the rose bush withered and died.
So it is with people. Within every soul there is a rose. The God-like qualities planted in us at birth grow amid the thorns of our faults. Sometimes all we see in people are their thorns, their faults.
Perhaps we get scratched by their ‘thorns’, and then we cut them off, reject them, and do not give them the encouragement they need to flower; or do not seek to help them and the life-giving Jesus.
They may then look at themselves and see only the thorns the defects. They despair, thinking that nothing good can possibly come from them. They lose sight of the good within themselves, and fail to nourish it. Eventually it dies, and all they are left with are the thorns, which now become bigger and bigger.
They never reach their potential or bring the good into the world that they could have brought had there been someone to encourage the good within them or introduce them to God’s love. Their only hope is that someday someone will come along who will be able to see past all the thorns and see the potential beneath. Better still if that person can help them know how much God loves them.
One of the greatest gifts we ourselves can possess is to be able to reach past the thorns and find the rose within others.
This is Godly love:- to look at a person, and knowing his faults, recognise the nobility of his soul, and help him realise that he can overcome his faults. If we show him the rose, he will conquer the thorns. Then will he blossom, blooming forth thirty, sixty, a hundred fold as it is given to him.
Our duty in this world is to help others by showing them their roses and not their thorns. Only then can we achieve the love we should feel for each other; only then can we bloom in our own garden
A Consecrated Thing
The German sculptor Dannaker worked for two years on a statue of Christ until it looked perfect to him. He called a little girl into his studio, and pointing to the statue, asked her “Who is that?” The little girl promptly replied, “A great man.”
Dannaker was disheartened. He took his chisel and began anew. For six long years he toiled. Again, he invited a little girl into his work-shop, stood her before the figure, and said, “Who is that?” She looked up at it for a moment, and then tears welled in her eyes and she folded her hands across her chest and said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me” (Mark 10:14). This time Dannaker knew he had succeeded.
The sculptor later confessed that during those six years, Christ had revealed Himself to him in a vision, and he had only transferred to the marble what he has see with his inner eyes.
Later, when Napoleon Bonaparte asked him to make a statue of Venus for the Louvre, Dannaker refused. “A man,” he said, “who had seen Christ can never employ his gifts in carving a pagan goddess. My art is henceforth a consecrated thing.”
Taps. A Story Of Two Soldiers
It all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison’s Landing in Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land. During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moan of a soldier who lay mortally wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him towards his encampment.
When the captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead. The captain lit a lantern. Suddenly, he caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his son. The boy had been studying music in the south when the war broke out. Without telling his father, he enlisted in the Confederate.Army.
The following morning, heart broken, the father asked for permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial despite his enemy status. His request was granted. The captain had also asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for the son at the funeral. That request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate. Out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician. The captain chose a bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of his dead son’s uniform. This wish was granted. This music was the haunting melody we now know as “Taps” that is used at all military.funerals.
These are the words to “Taps”. “Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lakes, From the hills, From the sky, All is well. God is nigh.”
A theologian one day wanting to know if he was holy, asked the Lord in prayer how he stood before God. Jesus answered him ‘Go to the Cathedral steps, there you will find a beggar, talk to him.’ The theologian did as he was asked, as he approached the beggar he could see that he was cold, hungry, half-naked and had sores on his body. The theologian said ‘good morning’ and the beggar replied ‘yes it is and I’ve never had a bad one’. The surprised theologian asked, ‘how can you say that when you are hungry, cold and have so many sore?’ The beggar replied, because everything God sends me I accept with joy!’ The theologian knew that the Lord had shown him true holiness.