Listen to Sample
Episode Number: 378
Writer: Phil Lollar
Scripture: Matthew 18:21-35; 1 Corinthians 13:7
Album: # 29: Signed, Sealed & Committed
Last Air Date: 09/17/2004
Original Air Date: 10/18/97
Jack and Joanne Allen return from their honeymoon/missions trip to the Philippines to find boxes of antiques for their shop, J & J Antiques, given to them by Whit and the Universal Press Association (UPF). Connie Kendall, their temporary assistant, is helping to catalog all the items in the inventory when they come across a painting. The beautiful work depicts women gathering crops. Jack wonders if it may be an original oil painting from the 1830's, "Gleaning at Twilight" by the French master Henri L'Eau, which has been missing for years.
Jack calls Professor James Champlin, Campbell County College art expert, who authenticates the painting. Though they could be wealthy because of this discovery, Jack and Joanne are determined to find the original owner who donated the painting to be sure they don't want it. They find that the painting was donated to UPF by G. Winston Smith, one of the wealthiest men in the country. He agrees that Jack and Joanne should keep the painting as long as they will agree to not publicly mention him or his organization.
However, while transporting the painting to Whit's End for safekeeping, they find writing on the back. Through one of his many contacts, Jason traces its origin through the International Art Registry in Paris, which indicates that the painting may have been stolen.
Jack and Joanne visit Mr. Smith to try to uncover the truth and he becomes very angry when he feels they are suggesting that his grandfather stole the painting while stationed in Paris in the German army. Rabbi Meyer Abbott, from whom the painting was stolen, confronts Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith admits his name is really Schmidt, and his father was a Nazi who stole the painting. He used the proceeds from the things he stole to emigrate to the U.S. and start a hardware business, which eventually became the huge company that Mr. Smith now heads. His father kept the secret his entire life. Mr. Smith donated the painting to UPF when he found out the truth about his father, as he was worried that the history of his organization would be known.
Rabbi Meyer expresses his forgiveness and support for Mr. Smith's organization, despite the past. The rabbi loans the painting to Jack and Joanne for exhibit and Mr. Smith forms a Hannah Abbott art scholarship, in memory of the rabbi's wife, for those whose work celebrates the ideals of freedom.