". . .let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
Last night in Grand Rapids, MI a Brooklyn-based artist, Ran Ortner won grand prize in the first annual ArtPrize competition. He is characterized as "a struggling artist." He spent over 30 years pursuing his passion and lived in obscurity until these past few weeks. Mr. Ortner learned of ArtPrize several months ago and painted Open Water no. 24. He entered the largest art competition in the world where he competed against 1262 other art displays. After over 300,000 votes were cast by Grand Rapids visitors, Mr. Ortner won the top prize of $250,000. He shared in an interview how financially challenging it has been pursuing art. He said that for the first time he would have "the resources to work without having to worry about making ends meet." His winnings will go first to pay an overdue phone bill.
Hebrews speaks of such perseverance. We are encouraged to "throw off everything that hinders" (Hebrews 12:1). Mr. Ortner did not let discouragement, the lack of notoriety, and even financial difficulties obscure his goals. His love of nature and his passion to express that love in painting focused him. Each of us have a race to run. And each of us will face challenges as we complete our course. There are many things that distract us from our race, but we are urged with the help of Jesus to stay focused and to finish that race. What is the race God has marked out for you? What are the challenges you face? Mr. Ortner's life is changed by his endurance and perseverance, will yours be?