At 150 feet, the Statue of Liberty is the tallest, and by far the tallest, statue in the continental United States. Around 4 million people go yearly to celebrate this great symbol of our country: a symbol of freedom (her name is Lady Liberty after all), a symbol of our country desiring to be a beacon for those seeking freedom, a symbol of welcoming everyone who comes from afar.
That’s the tallest statue in the continental US (there is a taller one in Puerto Rico). Do you know where the second tallest statue is in the US? Hallandale. Yes, Hallandale in Broward County (just south of Ft.
Lauderdale). Yes, just down the street basically and my guess is that you didn’t even know it was there, much less have seen it. That’s not a judgmental statement because I’ve seen it and wouldn’t blame you for not having heard about it.
This statue is right on US1 and is a 110-foot tall. The statue is of a horse with big wings, named Pegasus from Greek mythology, and a dragon coiled up that Pegasus is pouncing on. It’s a lot wider and longer than the Statue of Liberty, but not nearly as tall. While everyone who goes to bet on horses at Gulfstream Racetrack or shops at The Village at Gulfstream Park has seen it, I dare say few others have. Thousands drive by because it’s US1, but I didn’t see anybody stopping to take a picture when I drove by the other day (how many New Yorkers have never been to the Statue of Liberty?)
I was dumbfounded by the colossus, I mean Pegasus. It’s really huge. Surrounded by trees, buildings and urbanization in general, it doesn’t stand out like the Statue of Liberty there in the Hudson River. You don’t get a good view of it until you are right in front of it. So when I read that somebody paid $30 million to put it there, I couldn’t help but ask “Why?”
Built in 2012, the developers of Gulfstream, which would now include a mall and a bunch of condos, decided to build an entrance to beat all entrances. “OK…” In my mind they could have given a $35 million rebate to all the residents, and have spent the money better.
And a Pegasus? Why that? Was that the best definer of their values and aspirations? Well, Gulfstream is known for its horses, and I suppose that there’s something to be said for a flying horse, I mean, a symbol of strength and freedom that can slay dragons. But still.
I will say that you should go see it – only here in South Florida do you find the second largest statue in the US. You have to go to Butte, Montana to see the next tallest one after all.
But at the end of the day, as artistic expressions go, I think this one was a waste of money. The Statue of
Liberty cost $250,000 (or $5 million in today’s money). It’s symbolism is much deeper, and obviously more meaningful to 4.5 million people that visit it. And the third one? It’s a Madonna, a symbol of gratitude built with the contributions of many in that area of Montana.
Jesus said: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not
destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal (Matthew 16:19,20). Now, moth and rust will not destroy the copper statue, but the idea Jesus communicates is that we should invest in things that last forever – that our energies should go to spiritual things, and the spiritual nurture of others.
Where is your money going? Is it building Pegasus or is it building the Kingdom of God? While sometimes I worry that a lot of my money goes into things that disappear quickly (have you SEEN the price of gas!), I was encouraged, when I learned about the big sculpture down there in Hallandale, to be mindful of the way I spend my resources, and to focus them on things that matter.
As good stewards of the manifold grace of God, each of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve one another. 1 Peter 4:10