A $1.5 million masterpiece was damaged recently when a twelve-year-old Taiwanese boy tripped and fell, punching a hole in the canvas. “Flowers” by 17th century Italian master Paola Porpora was part of a Taipei exhibit showcasing artwork painted by or influenced by Leonardo da Vinci. The boy, who was carrying a can of soda, was listening to the guide and wasn’t looking where he was going. He tripped and smashed a hole in the artwork. A security camera caught the whole incident, including the stunned looks of others around the boy.
Late night talk show hosts had a field day and jokes abounded. Who was responsible? Since the average family income for the Republic of China is slightly over $26,000 American dollars annually, Museum Boy’s family could be paying for that painting for several generations. Taiwanese children attend public school, and the boy was on a required field trip, so perhaps the Ministry of Education coughed up the dough. But luckily, display organizer David Sun said the boy and his family had expressed sincere regret and won’t face any punishment. “We had an Italian appraiser on hand and immediately contacted the collector,” Sun said two days after the incident. “We decided to repair the painting immediately on site and (the painting is) back on display already.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if we had God’s equivalent of “an Italian appraiser onsite” when people damage the earth? Every time a natural treasure is vandalized, or people pollute our waters and streams, or “progress” produces environmental waste that is not dealt with responsibly, our home planet is left with scars. God assessed His creation as “good” (Genesis 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). He gave people “dominion” over His beautiful, unspoiled creation (Genesis 1:28). We were to have power over the earth and all that is in it, to develop its potential. God has given us the brainpower to care for the earth, not destroy it, which makes us God’s co-workers. If a Taiwanese pre-teen can feel remorse about accidentally damaging a great work of art, why do some people feel not a twinge of guilt when destroying God’s earth?
Father, help us to preserve this earth as You would wish us to do. Amen