A Call To The Remnant

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The Black Dot or the White Canvas?

Posted by appolus on May 16, 2014

When I was a younger man I went to an art museum and wandered around. I loved the paintings of portraits and landscapes and anything that captured a scene. In a very real sense these paintings were snapshots, photographs if you like, capturing a moment in time and space. I have never cared much for modern art though, although I like splashes of color with oils. I came to a painting that has stayed with me. It made me mad. It was a painting of a black dot in the middle of a large white canvas. Just a very tiny black dot. Yet oh how it grabbed the attention of bespectacled rich looking people. I thought how nice it must be, thinking satirically of course, to have the time to stand about , index finger and thumb on chin, and mull over the meaning of the black dot. I imagined the painter(probably dead) of the black dot laughing somewhere about how easy it was to pull the wool over the eyes of people with more money than sense. It was hanging in a well know gallery so I assumed it was worth a lot of money. A lot of money for a black dot. The height of pretension I thought.

It is only as I have gotten older that the painting has begun to make more sense to me. Here is this large beautiful white canvas with one single tiny black dot in the middle but all of the focus is on the black dot. I have known so many people over the years, that despite all the good things in their lives, they have all of their attention on the black dot. Despite the fact that it is so tiny, it dominates the canvas. For the Christian the white canvas is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. It is eternal salvation, it is our husbands and wives, our children, the food on the table, the clothes on our backs, a roof over our heads and a warm bed to sleep in. We have all these things but if we are not careful, this one percent, this tiny dot can draw all of our attention away from the huge white canvas of our lives.

Can I ask you a question. Do you focus on the black dot? Is there a disproportionate focus on the things that you do not have rather than a thankful focus on what you do have? Admittedly some people’s dots are bigger than others,but when you lay down your head and get ready to take your final breath, will you be able to look back on your life and know that you focused on the white canvas of your life? What you see with the eye affects every part of who you are. What do you see? Out of the heart of the thankful man flows rivers of love and joy and peace. He can see the beauty in life even in the rain. He can love because he sees the best in others. He can forgive because he can see the potential for reconciliation. He has peace in the midst of storms because His eye is fixed on something bigger than the storm. He has joy because no matter the circumstances of his life he has access to the throne-room, he can see God high and lifted up, his eyes have seen the glory of God. When you look at this world do you see what motivated God to send His only Son for the who-so-ever? Only with these eyes can one love as God loves.  What do you see?

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. (Luke 11:34) 

7 Responses to “The Black Dot or the White Canvas?”

  1. Nora said

    Thank you so much for this word! It’s so easy to focus on “the one thing that is missing”, rather than thanking God for how incredibly wonderful He has been and every day continues to be, even when we are so undeserving. Wonderful reminder of God’s unconditional love and presence in our lives. God bless your day!

    • appolus said

      Thank you for the blessing Nora and may the Lord bless you and may all saints focus on the greatness of our God and what He has done for us………………bro Frank

      • Nora said

        I’m reading this again 3 years later and as I read it this time I thought of how different my daughter’s life has been from my own. I grew up in poverty and domestic violence. My brother was murdered when I was a teenager. My daughter on the other hand, has never known any lack of anything. I’ve done my best to not spoil her but I have never had to pinch pennies since she was born. Interestingly, I am far more thankful than she is – partly because I’m an adult and she is an 11 year old, but also because I know what it’s like to be lacking and having to scrimp and save and she has no idea. I was so deeply sad and wounded when my brother was killed but over time I came to realize that you cannot know really true joy unless you have known the deepest, deepest sorrows. You also can’t truly understand or appreciate abundance unless you have known great lack. I am so thankful for all that God has given me. We are extremely more blessed than we oftentimes realize. Thanks for sharing this Frank. Have a blessed day!

        • appolus said

          Hi Nora, we have a lot in common and I think we have come to the same conclusions. Our children will never understand nor could they, what it is like to grow up poor or to grow up in violence. I grew up never really knowing what the night would bring. I was always glad to see the morning because the drunken madness of the night before was over, at least for a while. I was just walking thanking the Lord this morning for deliverance. Deliverance from sin, from eternal judgement, from poverty, from madness and so on. Only the man or woman who has truly hungered can truly appreciate what it means to be full. This applies to the spiritual realm as well of course. Only the man who has plied the depths of the valley’s can truly appreciate the glorious heights of the mountaintops. …………………bro Frank

          • Nora said

            So true Frank. I’m glad my childhood is over, as it was extremely rough and scary but I’m also glad to have experienced all the heartache. It has made knowing the Lord such an amazing and wonderful experience. I can’t put into human words how incredible the deliverance feels. So blessed to know Him and all of His goodness. Thank you for your blog. Your posts helped me a tremendous amount several years ago when I was being extremely traumatized by my ex. It was good to be flooded with light in the midst of the blackest darkness. God IS able to deliver no matter how bad it gets.

  2. Amber said

    Do you know the name of this painting? I’m fairly certain it’s the same one I saw in (probably) Philadelphia as a child. I’ve been trying to figure it out forever!

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