Have You Heard Of Richard DeCosmis?

Have You Heard Of Richard DeCosmis?

Neal Pollard

Have you ever found out something about a person you thought you knew, whether it be a secret talent, interesting background, or fascinating story from their past? Part of what makes life so interesting is that people have the endless ability to surprise us. Sometimes, however, we uncover remarkable examples of this.

Richard DeCosmis died in 2015. He had a 30-year-career as a police officer, but the man produced over 100 paintings and drawings the last quarter-century of his life. He apparently painted them in seclusion, “a self taught painter, a total outsider in the art world” (Marsha Froliak, heatst.com). He did not follow “any formal academic principle in painting,” but his works are increasingly being not only hailed as brilliant but “gaining traction in the art world.” There was a curated showing of 170 of his paintings in New York last month. His paintings are being sold in Connecticut, New York, and his native New Jersey. Perhaps he will come to be known as a great American painter. But, during his lifetime, he literally kept that considerable talent buried to all but his closest friends.

I am convinced that in our churches and on our pews are people full of untapped potential. We have great soul-winners, song writers, Bible class teachers, book writers, preachers, church leaders, church growers, encouragers, and more, and many of them don’t know it or are afraid to step out and show it. God gives to each of us abilities (1 Cor. 12:4-11; Rom. 12:3ff; Mat. 25:14ff). We can bury these and do nothing to grow and cultivate them, to our own everlasting reproach. We may not be have our mentors or encouragers to prod and prompt us, but we should all spend some time in personal reflection. We should ask, “What is it that He wants me to do and that I can do with I’ve been given to grow the kingdom?” Sitting next to you may be a person ultimately responsible for numberless many going to heaven. You know what, the person next to you may be sitting next to the same kind of person!

We are not seeking a spotlight or self-glorification. Yet, we have a limited time to make use of what God’s given us to do His work on earth. Who knows? We may even surprise ourselves by stepping out of our comfort zones and using our abilities to win the lost and help the saved! Let’s all work on growing our body of spiritual work! Eternity will tell the tale of it.


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