There is a BBC show that my husband and I came across and it is called “Fake or Fortune?” It’s all about investigating whether or not the 1400-year-old painting hanging on the family’s wall for centuries is an original or a copy. A journalist and an art dealer/expert investigate remarkable stories beneath the surface of these paintings. The goal is to discover (with enough evidence and history) whether the painting was done by its original artist or copied by a forger. Why? Because if we know 100% it’s an original then we can sell it for a fortune or keep it knowing its true value.
“Fake or Fortune?”
Here’s a great example of the importance of finding its true authenticity.
“When experts believed “Salvator Mundi” was painted by a da Vinci follower (a mere copy), it sold for only $60 at a Christie’s auction in 1958. But in 2007, conservator Dianne Dwyer Modestini removed layers of paint that had been added over the centuries and scholars confirmed that the work was actually a da Vinci original. Since then, “Salvator Mundi” has been in private ownership. But on Nov. 15, 2017, the 500-year-old painting will return to the auction block. This time, Christie’s estimates that bids could exceed $100 million as Da Vinci paintings are incredibly rare. It is one of fewer than 20 known da Vinci paintings in the world, according to Christie’s. The renowned Renaissance master painted “Salvator Mundi,” which translates to “savior of the world,” around 1500 A.D., in the same era that he completed The Mona Lisa.” Link Found Here
Fast-forward to 2019 and this painting is now considered the most expensive painting in the world. A Saudi prince bought it in 2017 for 450 million dollars. Seriously, Google it. Wow, talk about a profit, from only 60 to $450 Million. Goes to show the value of authenticity.
Find a painting that is a fake and get rid of it, find it’s an authentic piece of work and keep it. I’m going to be speaking figuratively about relationships in your life. In the example of the Da Vinci painting, in 1958 the expert thought it to be a fake created by one of his followers – estimating a value of only 60 dollars. The true value came by removing layers of added paint, discovered in 2007, adding $100 million to its estimated value. The difference in value was hidden beneath the surface. The richest friendships are the ones that bring value and deeper meaning to your life. “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Do you surround yourself with fake or fortune friends?
Fortune friends stay true to their authentic self and empower you to do the same. They bring refreshment to your soul (Proverbs 27:9). Despite flaws, they sacrifice time and energy for you in all seasons of life (Proverbs 18:24). They encourage and empower you in love and not jealousy (Proverbs 17:17). They are reliable, loyal and trustworthy (Proverbs 11:12-13).
In contrast, the artist who forges a painting calling it “an original” does so to make a profit. Fake friends will also seem like they are there for you on the surface but their intentions are to self-profit. The “art” of deception is hidden in the layers also. “For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people” (Romans 16:18). Flattery is like a fake painting manipulating you to believe how valuable you are. How often do your friends correct you with criticism and encourage you with truth (Proverbs 28:23)? “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18). (Psalm 36:2, 1 John 3:18, Proverbs 27:5-6).
Let’s reverse it now, and reflect upon us. How can you tell if you’re a fake or fortune friend to others? When an artist imitates another artist he does it so well that even the best art experts cannot tell the difference. Just like in the art world to determine if a piece of art is authentic or not, experts devote time to study the original artist and his previous works. The important factor in figuring out if a painting is a fake or an original is to learn about the artist. As Christians our artist is God and creating us is part of His works (Genesis 1:27). To bring value to other people we must first learn about the value in the one who created us (Psalm 139:14, Ephesians 2:10, 1 Corinthians 3:16). We risk losing our authentic selves by avoiding our Creator and turning to the world for answers (Romans 12:2). We all must learn to be a fortune friend and be careful about hiding our authentic selves to please others. When our purpose in friendships is to please others and not God we are no longer serving God (Galatians 1:10). “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:12-14).
God created you to be unique and different than any other human in the world. Let’s not try to “fit in” by layering extra paint to cover up our original copy. You, the authentic version of you (flaws and all), are the most valuable to God. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-10). We must embrace Him in us to be better friends to others. “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
The greatest example of a fortune friend is Jesus (John 3:16). “Greater love has no one than this: to lay one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Just like an original Da Vinci painting, we too are valuable when we let our original Creator shine through us.
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-3).”