“Sub-Creators”


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What does it mean to be in the world but not of the world? I love how Rick Warren illustrated it. A tuna would spend most of its life in the ocean until it ends as sushi or sashimi in a Japanese restaurant. Yet, even if it swam in saltwater, its flesh is still bland. We still have to dip it in soy sauce when we eat it. We are not to imitate the world. We are not to isolate ourselves from the world. We are to insulate ourselves from the world, like the tuna in the ocean. We live in the world but we are to live not like the world.

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But more than insulating ourselves from it, we are to be influencing the world. What does it mean to be made in God’s image, in His likeness (Genesis 1:26)?
[A]s image bearers of the Creator, we imitate him by creating culture more than copying or critiquing it. We are “sub-creators”—not creating something from nothing, but fashioning the raw materials of creation to make new cultural goods. We turn eggs into omelets, sounds into symphonies, and apples into apple pies.
Redemptive culture making, though is something more. It’s sub-creating in a distinctive way. It’s working like Jesus, who reframed broken cultural goods by pointing to their restoration in him… Most significantly, he redefined the cultural meaning of the cross—turning it from a symbol of death to an icon of life. [1]
We should teach our children that, “as image bearers of the creator,” we have to make the most of what God gave us. For example, we are to teach them the value of “working unto the Lord.” [2] Colossians 3:23 commands us, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (NLT) 

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The Message version goes like this
And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God,… 
It’s not to do what is required only. We are to teach our children to do their best. Work not only for the pay. Work for the Lord. Since we serve the Lord through our work, we are to give Him our best. Our children ought to know how to work hard and smart.
Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work. (vv. 24-25, The Message)
A work may be demeaning culturally, like cleaning toilets. But, as sub-creators, we are to teach our children the dignity of work. 

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No work is too small for them, even if they have to work from the ground up. I know some Filipino-Chinese businessmen who would make their children work as messengers in their companies, even if they graduated from prestigious, private universities. It makes good business sense. They know every gear in their company’s machinery. But, more than making them familiar with every aspect of their businesses, it is to teach them humility. It is to teach them not to look down at their workers but to value each one.

Brothers and sisters, we are to teach our children that we are sub-creators.

[1] Bethany Jenkins (2015, April 7), “Is Driving School Buses Kingdom Business?” The Gospel Coalition, retrieved from www.thegospelcoalition.org/.

[2] I got the basic idea from Chip Ingram’s “Effective Parenting in a Defective World.”

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