The Painting

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#378: “The Painting”
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Matthew 18:21-35

21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"

22Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26"The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. 29"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' 30"But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

1 Corinthians 13:7
7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

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The Painting

“The Painting” is episode #378 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Phil Lollar, and originally aired on October 18, 1997.


Jack and Joanne Allen open J & J Antiques and are immediately caught up in a mystery involving a millionaire and a long-lost painting.


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, 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 Community 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 from a Jew during WW2.

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 Myer Abbot, 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 Myer 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.

Discussion Questions

  1. Jack and Joanne wanted to find out where the painting came from. Why was it so important?
  2. G. Winston Smith tried desperately to keep the painting's background a secret. Why didn't he want anyone to know about it?
  3. Myer Abbott forgave Mr. Smith. What was his explanation for forgiving him?


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Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
John Whittaker Joanne Allen
Eugene Meltsner Connie Kendall



  • The original broadcast version of this episode included an extra line that has since been cut. Toward the end of the final scene with G. Winston Smith, the Rabbi originally said, "You have created a wonderful organization that helps others, Mr. Smith. You have atoned for your sin. And for that, may the Lord bless you." All subsequent airings and album versions cut the line, "You have atoned for your sin." There is now a brief pause in the middle of the line.
  • The album version of this episode includes the following material:
    • Lines are added about the woodcarver who made Jack and Joanne's sign, and Connie wanting to be an art major.
    • The conversation is extended where Connie and Jack discover the painting, as well as the description of the painting during the phone call with G. Winston Smith.
    • Jack and Joanne talk longer about the information that they got from the International Arts Registry.
  • The name of the woodcarver (Abe Norman) mentioned in the album version of this episode is an obvious reference to Norm Abram (of This Old House fame).
  • Although it's never been stated, the fictional "Gleaning at Twilight" painting from this episode is probably based on the real life painting "The Gleaners" by Jean-François Millet.
  • Joanne mentions in this episode that Whit is staying at the Drake Hotel — a real-life hotel in Chicago.


Jack Allen: You Whittakers! Is there anyone you don't know?
Jason Whittaker: Um... no! Not really.

Joanne Allen: So how have things been around here, Jason?
Jason Whittaker: You know Odyssey. Same old, same old.
Jack Allen: That's what I like about it.

Jack Allen: What is all this Jason?
Jason Whittaker: Well, Dad called it a... uh... belated wedding-slash-congratulations-on-your-new-business-slash-welcome-home gift!

Running Kid: Gangway!
Jason Whittaker: Look out! Connie—Connie! Hold on!
Connie Kendall: Uh-oh!

Joanne Allen: What? What's wrong?
Jack Allen: Well, according to this information, G. Winston Smith may be a thief.