A few days ago I was able to catch a documentary on the Pacific ocean while watching history television that has sparked a lot of internal thought and speculation. The premise of this program was examining how ocean volcanoes in the Pacific are still active in creating new land masses in our world. Many of the views that were shown were simply stunning...and I found myself marvelling at the creative power of God.
My mind has continued to flirt with this subject matter of creativity; my imagination has been captivated with this theme. I've been drawn to study the creation account of our world from the book of Genesis, and one phrase in particular has held ransom my thoughts over the past few days. After creating the world, God commands His creation to be fruitful and multiply and "to fill the earth." I've often stopped the cognitive process at mammals, humans, birds, fish and reptiles reproducing. But lately I have been thinking about the earth itself and this theme of creativity.
The invitation to create is a divine invitation. Something in which we can partner with God is fulfilling part of His purpose for creation itself. I can't help but wonder if this is not a similar theme that should be etched into the process of discipleship also. When we are seeking to disciple others in the ways of Jesus, are we not inviting them to be a part of the creative process? In this case, the creation is about a life and a character, something that at times may not seem to be a tangible part of the creative process. But, isn't it true that so much of the creative process at large goes unseen my the human eye? Think about how human children are formed in their mother's womb. Much of this formation process is still a mystery to us as humans even with all of the scientific advances that have been made throughout history. Yet what goes as unseen on a human level is seen by the Almighty Creator Himself.
What I am learning about discipleship is simply this: without ownership, all of our efforts are destined to fail. As a father of two small children I come face to face with this basic principle each day on numerous occasions. If my kids do not have ownership of what I am asking of them (cleaning up, eating, taking a bath, etc.), my desired outcome of obedience will not manifest itself. If, however, my children possess ownership of the activity at hand, if they feel as though by their participation they are contributing to the entire family at large, then the desired outcome of obedience and character transformation is attained.
When we think about discipling others, are we inviting them to be a part of the creative process in their own lives, or are we simply handing them a list of things to do and a list of things to refrain from doing? Discipleship is about character transformation; a creative initiative extended to us through a divine invitation. As a follower of Jesus, think about how you may invite others into a creative partnership that is being a "fisher of men" (making disciples). Maybe is volunteering in a church setting; maybe it's transforming how you view your relationships with your co-workers. We are all invited to play a role in the creative process. Will we live out God's command to be creative, or will we settle for something much less?