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Turning statues into souls

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Divine Servant statue by Max Greiner outside Blackaby Hall at Blackby Hall (Credit: Dallas Baptist University)

Are you “weary in well doing”?  Do you sometimes wonder if serving Jesus makes a difference in our fallen world?  It seems that every morning we read headlines that invite us to discouragement.  For instance, I just noticed that Reuters is reporting “a darker outlook for the world economy” as Europe’s private sector and Chinese factories struggle.  Does our faith and witness matter in a world like ours?

I read each morning from the writings of C. S. Lewis, and reread his classic Mere Christianity every year.  This morning I encountered this observation: “What man, in his natural condition, has not got, is Spiritual life—the higher and different sort of life that exists in God.”  Lewis explains that our biological life is to God’s spiritual life as a photo is to a place, or a statue to a man.  A person who went from biological to spiritual life “would have gone through as big a change as a statue which changed from being a carved stone to being a real man.”

Here’s the statement that arrested me: “And that is precisely what Christianity is about.  This world is a great sculptor’s shop  We are the statues and there is a rumor going round the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life.”

Seen this way, all that really matters is the eternal and spiritual truth you and I are privileged to know and share.  The status of the statue shop is not nearly as important as its purpose—to give stone figures an opportunity to find true life.  Everything we do for our King today will bear eternal harvest ten thousand millennia after this tiny planet is forgotten.

When I was finishing my doctoral dissertation, I wrote this verse on an index card and put it where I could see it every day: “Let us not become weary in well doing, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).  This is the promise, and the invitation, of God.