Friend: Fake or Fortune?

My husband and I came across this great show called, “Fake or Fortune?” It’s all about investigating old (really old, like centuries old) art pieces to figure out if they are originals or fakes. A journalist and an art dealer/art expert investigate remarkable stories beneath the surface of these paintings. The goal is to discover if the painting’s an original piece of work or a mere copy (a fake) to determine it’s true value.

Here’s an example…

Da Vinci, painted “Salvator Mundi,” which translates to “Savior of the world,” around 1500 A.D., in the same era that he completed The Mona Lisa. In 1958 this very rare painting emerged to the surface and after investigating its authenticity experts believed the Da Vinci painting was not an original. They believed it was copied by one of his followers. So it only sold for only $60 at a Christie’s auction .

In 2007, conservator Dianne Dwyer Modestini removed layers of paint that had been added onto the painting over the centuries. Her discovery led scholars to confirm that the work was actually a Da Vinci original!

On Nov 15, 2017, the 500-year-old painting returned to the auction block. Christie’s estimated the bids could exceed $100 million as Da Vinci paintings are incredibly rare.

(find article here)

The Da Vinci painting did exceed $100 million at the auction block. It sold to a Saudi prince for $450 million! This Salvator Mundi painting is now considered the most expensive painting in the world. Google it. Talk about a profit, from a shy $60 to a whopping $450 Million! Goes to show the value of authenticity.

Value of authenticity in friendships

In the example of the Da Vinci painting, the difference in value was hidden beneath the surface and the same goes with our relationships. The richest friendships are the ones that bring value and meaning to your life – going beyond just the surface level.

Do you surround yourself with fake or fortune friends?

Fortune friends – the art of value

A fortune friend is like owning an original Da Vinci painting – rare yet very valuable. These friends are for you (all of you – not just parts they like). Friends who are reliable, loyal and trustworthy and sacrifice time and energy for you (Proverbs 18:24, Proverbs 11:12-13, Philippians 2:3-4). They encourage and empower you in love and not jealousy (Proverbs 17:17). You’re inspired and motivated by their wisdom and you build each other up in faith (Proverbs 27:17, Proverbs 13:20).

Fake friends – the art of deception

The fake friend is like art forgery. Like a fake painting manipulating you to believe how “authentic” it is the same intention is that of a fake friend. They cover up their authentic self to make you believe what they want you to believe (Proverbs 20:19, Romans 16:18). Do they always agree with you or how often do your friends correct you with love and encourage you with truth? (Psalm 36:2, Proverbs 27:5-6, (Proverbs 27:9).

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

(1 John 3:18)

What about YOU?

Evaluating your friendships might mean you need to rediscover who you are by asking the one who created you. To have fortune friends around us we need to be fortune friends ourselves. The best way to become a fortune friend – one who brings value to others, is to know how valuable you are!

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 not is to learn about the artist. As humans our artist is God and creating us, in His image, is part of His works (Genesis 1:27). To bring value to other people we must first learn about 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 learn to be a fortune friend by prioritizing our relationship with God first.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

(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)

Stay authentic to your identity in Christ

God created you to be unique for a reason and a purpose. 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)

The greatest example of a fortune friend is Jesus. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). We must embrace Him, Christ in us, to be better friends to others. 

Your value comes from God, Creator of the universe, allowing Him to work through your heart will help you become a fortune friend.