Unseen Sacrifices

"But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God" (Hebrews 10:12).

Homeschooling is so exciting because it provides spontaneous opportunities to learn. Such was the case the day my son worked on his Bible assignment. As he looked up Scripture passages on prayer, he noticed "The Praying Hands" plaque hanging on our wall and asked, "Whose hands are those?"

As we began researching, my son and I discovered an amazing story of sacrificial love. Albrecht Durer and his brother Albert both had a dream to become artists. However, living in a family of 18 children, they knew their father could never afford to send both of them to art school. As they discussed the problem, they decided one brother would work in the mines to support the other while studying art. Then, when that brother had completed his studies, he would return the favor and work to support the other. Albrecht won the toss of the coin and went to school first, while Albert went to work in the mines.

Albrecht's talents were remarkable, and by the time he graduated, he was earning large fees for his commissioned works. Returning home a successful artist, he said to Albert, "Now it's your turn to go to school, dear brother."

With his body worn out from years of hard work in the mines, Albert replied, "No, it's too late for me. My fingers have all been smashed at least once, and my arthritis is so bad I could never hold a pen or brush to a canvas. No, for me it's too late." As the tears streamed down Albert's face, Albrecht realized the great sacrifice his brother had made. Moved by this incredible gift of love, Albrecht painstakingly painted a portrait of the hands that had given him so much. Immortalizing his brother's hands, "The Praying Hands" became Albrecht's most well-known masterpiece!

After reading this remarkable story with my son, I was overcome with emotion. Thanking God for His divine guidance in teaching us a different lesson, I realized again that every sacrifice made to homeschool was worth the joy of seeing my children grow in their faith. What a privilege to give my all to help them achieve their best!

Lord, thank You for Your sacrificial death on the cross that offers eternal life and hope to all who believe. Please, show me how to lay down my life daily to homeschool my children with the same sacrificial love. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Comments(12 comments)

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DOROTHYK M 05/21/2010 07:41:41

WoW! Thank you for sharing the story of the praying hands. I never knew it! I cried...wept. I grew up with a praying hands plaque and have always loved it!

DARLENA H 05/22/2010 12:47:53

Beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing. What an awesome example of sacrificial love and the true meaning of putting others before ourselves. I am going to share this story with my children today.

MAYA T 05/21/2011 07:52:48

This is such a beautiful story. I think of my husbands hands. He works in construction and his hands are so smashed, his wrist has been broken and his fingers are so big that they cannot fit on a keyboard. He works everyday to give me the opportunity to stay home. And now to be able to home school our children. God is so merciful. I did say out of my mouth what a sacrifice it is to be a stay at home mother, because you have to lay down your life for your family. But how great it is to do that as you home school your kids.

SARA S 05/21/2012 04:59:28

I\'m so thankful for these morning devotions. I have this picture in my home, and never knew the story that laid within. What a different emotion I will have waking each day and looking at it with new assurance.

SHANNON S 05/21/2012 05:03:54

This is an amazing story that I never knew about either. We are still pondering homeschool and I have been saying it will be a big sacrifice for me and then you post this! If it doesn\'t convict you then you should check your pulse!

BETHANY D 05/21/2012 05:10:59

Wonderful story. However, from what I\'ve read it\'s a wonderful myth :-) I still love it though! http://www.barefootsworld.net/albrechtdurer.html

Sarah K 05/21/2012 05:14:24

It\'s a nice story, but this is just a story. Albrecht Durer was the son of a goldsmith, who could afford to apprentice his son to an artist. Albrecht did have an older brother, who died while Albrecht was still a young teen. Albrecht Durer is remembered as an artist who made good art accessible and affordable to the common people, using a process similar to the printing press, cutting out wood to print pictures. He always put something hidden in his paintings too. The Praying Hands is the only sketch remaining of the sketches he did for a scuplture called The Apostle, which was destroyed by fire. It is said that the drawing is based on his own hands, as Albrecht often used himself as a model. Read the real biography, and you\'ll find a story of a generous, kind man who loved God, loved art and loved people. But sorry, this legend of the Praying Hands, is just that, a legend.

KATHY S 05/21/2012 07:00:51

My Father was a Marine, and, he was also a painter. He painted houses, his inside work of marblizing, texture work and wallpapering was amazing, he was quite sought after. He also worked construction in \"Nuclear Plants\". When he was in the Marines, he foought in the \"Korean War\". I never really got the story completely stright, and he has passed away noe so I can\'t ask. But, he was sent on errand somewhere on a bike in Korea, his hands got \"frostbitten\" and were never right. Then he painted when he returned home, which he had horrible Arthritis in his hands. Later, he got \"Lupus\", still in pain everyday, this man used his hands as much as could to help my son, myself and others, kt didn\'t matter to him that he was in pain, he did everhthing he could for others always. So your story of the \"Praying Hands\", whether true or not, made me think of my Father, Thank You.

ELKE S 05/21/2012 12:34:46

I grew up with the praying hands also. It seemed to be the only constant in my life. My childhood was not easy but the hands saw me through. My mothers\' grandmother started the hardship of the praying hands and I will continue it with my children.

BRANDY A 05/24/2012 05:04:05

This was an incredible devotional for me today. I have been trying to teach our 3 young children \"selfishness\". This really opened my eyes to a great example and teaching opportunity, not only by the story of the brothers sacrifice but also Jesus\' sacrifice. Thank you for this!

Tammy Pridmore 05/21/2013 13:07:31

This is a beautiful devotion. I've never heard the story behind the Praying Hands until this morning. Thank you. I'm reminded of the ultimate sacrifices when Jesus laid everything aside that He had in Heaven to come and die for our sins, and of God's sacrifice to send Him. I love how God uses things like this to remind us of His unconditional love for us.

Emilie Murray 05/21/2013 18:47:00

This is a beautiful story I had never heard, and I have studied his work in art school! I adored Durer's work and now it is all the more precious. Thank you so much for sharing.

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