There were two twin beds, indeed all made up. The bedspreads hung lopsided, the hem at the head end barely reaching the edge of the bed and the hem at the foot end folding down over itself onto the carpet. Under it, the sheets and blankets sat in piles and rolls, making the bedspread top look like it was laid over Lilliputian foothills. One of the spreads was particularly “off,” and I was momentarily at a loss to figure out the problem. At the foot, the bottom sheet showed in a line one to four inches wide. Since the top barely reached the headboard and it was not neatly tucked in under the pillows, that should not have been. Then I realized what was wrong--the whole bedspread was on sideways.
“Amazing!” I gushed. “What a fine job you have done.” For indeed they had—for a four- and six-year-old who had been given no instruction at all
The next few mornings I asked if they would like to learn some hints that would make bed making easier. Easier? Of course they would, because it had not taken long for the new to wear off this activity and for it to become simply a chore. So they learned how to make a bed properly, and in time they did reasonably well.
Now imagine if they had shown me that first made bed when they were 14 and 16. Do you think I would have lavished any praise on them? I would have expected a much better eye for detail, and much more care in technique. That does not mean I was lying when I told them at the earlier age that they had done a fine job. They had done a fine job for their age and experience.
Now how about us? How old am I as a child of God? But—and here is the crux of the matter—how old do I act? How much have I learned and grown, and does it show in the way I behave every day of my life?
We needn’t expect the same praise God would give a babe in Christ if we have been Christians for 20 years. If we have been Christians longer than that, we should have made even more progress.
Make no mistake, God does love his children, but He has expectations as well. I must do my best for my Father, trying harder and harder to get better and better. If my “bed making” is still at age 4 level when I have spent 44 years as His child, He will not be pleased. And if I love Him, working to get better is not too much to ask.
…till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, Christ; Eph 4:13-15.