The Continuance, Lastingness, Permanence, and Durability of DiscipleMaking

One of the purposes of Surrealism (developed in Paris after WWI in 1924) in art and literature is to jolt the viewer out of their comforting assumptions and conscious thought through the creation of mysterious symbols. The imagery, in an attempt to escape rational thought, can be outlandish and perplexing while seeking to express the subconscious mind through a number of various techniques.

In the beautiful surreal landscape above, our eyes may first be drawn to the curving path or to the six street clocks. Naturally, one’s first thought may be, “What does the artist wish to say to us?” As I looked at the painting through the lens of a biblical worldview, I could not help but interpret the merged images as a pathway moving through and past time toward the horizon of timelessness. One thing came to me quickly: Our days are numbered. But there was another: Without exception, we are all traveling through this life, making our individual journeys along a path in the time-space continuum, moving from one event or one moment to the next. At the end of our lives, we will all meet God face-to-face and enter into a world of eternal timelessness. As C.S. Lewis put it: “When the Author walks on to the stage, the play is over.” In that moment, he continues, “None of us will have any choice left. For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature.”

At the moment, our pathway is in the midst of the clocks. We are still here, living our lives as best we know how and seeking to fulfill our individual and corporate callings. We have been gifted with time, talents, and treasures to do everything He has commanded us to do. We have every endowment we need for pleasing Him and doing our part to expand and build up His body, the Church.

What we do on the path is of utmost importance to the King. Jesus and, later, the Apostle Paul, by their words and examples, reveal through Scripture that people need to hear and respond to the gospel of salvation by grace through faith, and that new believers must be discipled in the words and ways of Jesus.

It takes time and patience to lead a person to maturity in Christ. And it takes labor, as the Apostle Paul noted: “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me” (Col. 1:28-29). We must resist the idea that immediate gratification or transient programs will build the kind of people who are being formed into the image of Jesus Christ. Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas famously highlighted the truth about the complexity of human development and warned those who are wed to a consumer-centered, shallow process of spiritual formation and leadership development: “You cannot microwave a life.”

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