Sir Winston Churchill was a keen artist. Picking up the hobby around 1914, he continued painting until he was 87. That year, in 1962, his bodyguard, Edmund Murray, encouraged him to take up his paintbrushes one last time. He did and completed, ‘The Goldfish Pool at Chartell’, which he gifted to Murray. Later, it earned more than $650,000 at a Sotheby’s auction in 2017.
Out of more than 550 paintings he completed, his most expensive is, ‘Tower Of The Koutoubia Mosque’, sold in early March at a Christie’s London auction for nearly $15 million to an anonymous buyer. He painted it following the Casablanca Conference in 1943 where he met with President Roosevelt to discuss military strategy for the western Allies. Roosevelt was so enchanted by the sunset that Churchill, taking inspiration from the Moroccan city, Marrakesh, decided to paint the scene as a gift for him. This was the only artwork he completed during World War II.
A self-confessed fan of Churchill who has a bust of Churchill on his desk, read four of his biographies and studied many of his speeches in detail, amongst other things, unsurprisingly wished he was the buyer. This is what he thought of the painting, “…I don’t think Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque is a great work of art. In fact, if its painter had been anonymous, I wouldn’t pay $1,200 for it, much less $12 million” (Denison).
For Denison, the value of Tower of the Koutoubia had nothing to do with the quality of the painting but everything to do with artist who painted it. In the same way, our true value as human beings have very little to do with what we do or even who we are but in ‘Whose we are’! This is the foundation of our status, worth and dignity. “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us” (Augustine), just as there is only one priceless Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque.
And since, ‘Whose we are’ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8), we can be 110% certain that God’s dogged, unswerving and unwavering love displayed for us so powerfully through the cross stays CONSTANT! (we should sit with this word a bit more).
All of us need to be reminded ‘Whose we are’ regularly. I most certainly do. There’s no shame in admitting this. What’s more important is that we receive and walk in the wonders of God’s unmerited grace. This is the key to defeating the idols that battle for our hearts.