God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)
The New Year will begin in a short while and each of you probably has made an assessment of what you did during the year that passed. You have probably found many things that you were very happy with, but others you are not so happy about. Some might be glad that they had a good financial year, others because they have been healthy, and did not have to go to the doctor, others for the holidays they managed to take or more simply for the books they read. There are many things to consider when we evaluate our happiness, but the most important thing is to have done what was needed from God’s perspective.
In the Bible, we have many examples of people who were ready to do what God demanded, but also the examples of those who followed their own path, seeking their happiness separate from God. Cain wanted to get rid of Abel, Lamech took two wives and Nimrod became a mighty one on the earth. Of course, neither of us wants to resemble them, but there are situations where good people wanted to do good things, and yet God stopped them. Samuel looked at the outward appearance, considering that all the other sons of Jesse were fit to be kings, David wanted to build a house for the Lord, and later on, Peter would have wanted to stay on the mountain, trying to keep Jesus just for a small privileged group. Even though most of us have already made our plans for the New Year, it is good to reflect on what God really wants from each of us, namely, to grow in the likeness of His Son, Jesus. But how could we do that? What causes this kind of growth in our lives? Is it something we can do on our own or do we need other people to help us? And then how is this growth reflected in our lives?
Before He ascended to heaven, the Lord Jesus told His disciples to make disciples. They were trained and ready! They had finished their discipleship school, having the Lord himself as their teacher. They were supposed to make disciples and teach others what they knew. Later, we see this exhortation repeating itself when Paul asks Timothy to entrust to trusted people all the teaching that he knew, considering that they should also pass it on to other people of trust. Timothy was ready! He had finished Paul’s discipleship school.
The transmission of information in a relational context seems to be the key to the process of discipleship. Information without relationship or relationship without information seems not to be what has been suggested to us. On the other hand, the disciples need to be raised and at some point, when they are ready, they must be released into the work of the ministry.
Spiritual maturity implies involvement in “ministry” but it must be in the direction of discipleship. There are many good works and ministries that we can do, but from God’s perspective, discipleship is what matters. Someone said that each generation must take over Christianity from the previous generation and then pass it on. If a generation fails, theoretically speaking, to take it over or to pass it on, Christianity might cease to exist. Thank God there have always been people willing to pass it on and so it came to us. Its quantity and quality depend on each one of us. Let’s make disciples and help them grow in such a way that they will be able to pass it on.
God looked at all that he had done, and they were all very good!