Serving the Lord and the local church through puppets, ventriloquism, chalk art, vocal and instrumental music and old fashioned Bible preaching. Artist and Gypsy
C h a l k   A r t

The Artist and the Gypsy Girl

Many years ago, the artist Stenburg sat in his Dusseldorf studio. He had just been commissioned to provide a painting of the crucifixion for a church building. It was to be a masterpiece. and he would be paid a handsome sum for his work. Stenburg was talented. He was famous. He was becoming wealthier every year. But one thing that Stenburg did not have was peace.

In the weeks that followed, Stenburg searched out all he could of the facts of the death of Jesus, until, finally, he was ready to begin the painting. The first brush full of color touched the canvas, then another, and another until, one day, the cross stood stark and upright on Calvary's hill. Day after day Stenburg's brush caressed the canvas, and then, suddenly, he was tired.

"I'll forget this for a while", he declared, "I'll walk out to the country and do some sketching!"

It was Spring and the grass was green. At the edge of the forest Stenburg stopped. There a gypsy girl platted a straw basket. Blue-black hair reached her waist. Her red dress was faded and torn. Her eyes were dark, large, and restless.

"What a painting!" Stenburg thought to himself. The girl stared up at the artist. "Please, stand!" She smiled, threw down her straw and sprang to her feet. "This week you must come to my studio. I wish to paint you!"

"But Senior, I am only a poor gypsy girl!"

"I have asked you to come. Now, please, come!" And she did come, in her red gypsy dress, her hair tucked back with a wild flower. Pepita had never been in an artist's studio. Her questions amused Stenburg. But as she gazed around the room, suddenly her eyes stopped at the painting of the crucifixion that stood almost completed.

"Who is that?"

"That is the Christ."

"But what are they doing to him?"

"Crucifying him."

"But who are those cruel people?"

Stenburg threw his brush down. "Now you look here! You just stand there still, and do not move your lips to speak!" Pepita closed her lips, but her eyes never left the painting of the crucifixion. Posing for the day was over. At the door, Pepita stopped.

"Was he a bad man?"

"No...No...very good! Now remember, be here the day after tomorrow. Each day that she came she asked more and more questions.

"If he was good, then why did they kill him?"

Stenburg tipped his head to one side. "Listen, and I will tell you once and for all." And hurriedly he repeated the facts of Christ's death. As he talked, he could see her dark eyes welling up with tears.

Finally the day came when both paintings were completed; the one of the crucifixion, and the one of the Spanish gypsy girl. For the last time Pepita came to the studio. When she saw herself on the canvas, she clapped her hands with pleasure. Then she walked over to the other painting and stood silently.

She turned to Stenburg. "You must love him very much, Senior, when he has done all that for you. Do you not?" And then, quickly, she was gone. Stenburg stood looking after her, but the street sounds refused to drown out the sound of Pepitas voice. All week long he heard that question. "You must love him very much...Do you not?"

Stenburg's restlessness grew. He walked, night and day, up and down the streets of Dusseldorf, trying to shake off his sadness of spirit. Then, one night, he observed a group of people hurrying through a low doorway. It was curious, he thought, that the people who entered all looked so happy. Puzzled, Stenburg entered and sat down with the happy people. It was a meeting of Christians, gathering together to sing and to hear the Word of God preached. That night, as he listened, Stenburg found the answer to the restlessness of his life. He learned that Jesus Christ had died on the cross, not just for the world, but for Stenburg! That night the artist was born again, and at last he could say from his own heart, "And how much I love him!"

The next morning, he could not keep this joy to himself. "I must tell others!...but how?" At last he found the answer. "I know...I can paint!" And soon a great masterpiece, a painting of the crucifixion was presented to the Dusseldorf gallery for every visitor to see, a sermon for all to hear.

One day, Stenburg found in front of this painting, a girl, weeping. As she turned, he saw that it was Pepita. "It is you Senior!...Oh, Senior, if he had but loved me so!"

Stenburg sat down with her in front of the painting, and gladly told her the story of that wondrous death, and of the glorious resurrection. "Christ Jesus has suffered and bled on the cross for all men,...for gypsies,..for everyone,...for me,...for you! All this he did for you, Pepita!"

For a moment, the gypsy girl was silent. Then she looked up. "I believe it!" she said in simple faith. Two years later, Pepita died, trusting in the Lord Jesus. Her final words were those which Stenburg had placed beneath the painting. "All this I did for thee! What hast thou done for me?"

The gallery in Dusseldorf burned years ago, and with it, the famous painting. But the question remains the same for everyone,...for you! "All this I did for thee! What hast thou done for me?"

The Bible says in Romans 5:8 "But God commendeth his love toward us, that in while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." II Corinthians 5: 14 & 15 says, "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again."