Michelangelo’s 17-foot masterpiece, David, which he carved between 1501-1504, is rated as possibly the best work of art the Renaissance ever produced. Yet the large block of marble from which Michelangelo carved it had been rejected by several other prominent artists before him. One of these was the great sculptor of a previous generation, Donatello, who rejected the block of marble for its many flaws. One expert condemned the marble stone as hopeless. Another saw its possibilities.
Like that rejected stone, many human beings face the critiques and condemnation of others. They may question their value for any useful purpose. But the experts on human potential are frequently wrong. For instance, in their book, The Experts Speak, Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky have catalogued hundreds of erroneous critiques and predictions of failure for the world’s greatest and most successful artists, authors, actors, musicians, composers, athletes, and inventors. These “voices of authority” that missed the mark demonstrate the human tendency to underestimate or overlook the potential for goodness and greatness that God has put into every one of His children.
In 1936, after just a few months of attending the “bleak spiritual boot camp” of Dr. Bob Jones Bible Institute, a young and emotionally beaten William Franklin requested to be dropped from the course. “Billy, if you quit this school, you’ll never amount to anything but a backwoods Baptist preacher.” And with that gloomy prognosis Dr. Bob sent William Franklin packing. But quite often the experts are wrong. Dr. Bob was wrong about William Franklin Graham – Billy Graham. Rev. Graham went on to preach the Gospel to more than a billion people.
Shortly after graduating college Sam got a job at the Des Moines, Iowa J.C. Penny as a trainee in retail sales. Although Sam proved an able salesman and was enthusiastic about the retail business, he fared poorly. He was disorganized and his record-keeping was a mess. In the early 1940s, when salesmen worked behind the counter filling orders and packaging everything for the customer, Sam proved sloppy and impatient. Not even Mr. J. C. Penny, who personally tried to train Sam, could help. “You’re just not cut out for the retail business,” his supervisor told him. When America entered WWII, Sam joined the Army, much to the relief of J.C. Penny’s.
Sam was none other than Sam Walton. His business prowess, innovative ideas, and competitive spirit made him the greatest retail seller in America and the second richest man on earth. Sam Walton started Walmart. At the time of his death his net worth was $25 billion.
Don’t let the critics get you down when they predict your failure. Instead, believe in the God who believes in you. God has his own plans for your future and He has endowed you with gifts and powers few will understand until you have allowed God to have his way in your life. Dr. George Washington Carver used to say, “Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed.”
Dear Father in heaven, please take the raw material of my life and make me into the person You created me to be. Please take my faults and my painful failures and transform them into something beautiful and good – that I may be a credit to You and a blessing to others. Amen.