“Are you nuts?” I remember asking, not too politely.
Even as big a bundle as he was, he was still too small for those newborn clothes. They swallowed him whole, but he grew into them quickly. Now he is bigger than I am and could carry me around.
Jesus said we need to become “as little children,” and many suggestions have been made about what He was referring to, from humility, to total dependence, to being easy to forgive. But when I thought of my son’s birthday, it struck me that there is one thing that children do far better than anyone else. In fact, they are made for it--they grow, and they grow quickly!
Not too long ago in a women’s Bible study, one sister suggested that the reason we don’t learn too well, the reason we resist deep study and even complain if a class gets past the things we already know is that we think we have arrived. We are already mature in Christ and there is nothing new to learn. Never mind that we just heard something new and didn’t know it—it must not be true if we never heard it before! And it’s asking too much for us to actually act like a student and work at learning—reading scriptures, doing research, filling out workbooks.
I have been blessed beyond measure with the classes I have taught. The women in them never complain about the difficult lessons, the number of hours they take and the old chestnuts I debunk--there is no gate called the Needle’s Eye! They eat up everything I give them, write as fast as their fingers can fly, and have even learned to ask me, “How do you know that?” Good for them!
Do you remember when Paul and Barnabas passed back through the churches of their first journey a second time, appointing elders in every church, Acts 14:21-23? Those men had only been Christians for about a year. Yet Paul told Timothy the elder should not be a novice, 1 Tim 3:6. Would we ever appoint a man to be an elder after only a year? So what’s the difference today? Granted they had miraculous gifts back then, but having them and being wise enough to use them properly are two different things—as the Corinthians show us so well; and Paul tells us that having the completed word of God is far superior to spiritual gifts anyway, 1 Cor 12:31; 13:8-12. The difference is they grew, evidently as fast as children do, while we sit back and complain about the extra effort involved.
If I were told that I had to pass a certain course to keep my job, do you think I would study hard? Of course I would. If I let my driver’s license expire and had to retake the test, would I study hard, even though I probably know most of what is in that manual? Yes. I would not want to even take a chance on failing the test. So where are my priorities?
I don’t know how much time we have to learn and grow, but God says there is a time for each of us: For when by reason of time you ought to be teachers you have reason again that one should teach you…This is a pass/fail test. What if my time allotment is already past? I’m not taking the chance. How about you?
Of whom we have many things to say, hard of interpretation, seeing you have become dull of hearing. For when by reason of the time you ought to be teachers, you have need again that someone teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God, and have become such as need milk, and not of solid food. For everyone who partakes of milk is without experience of the word of righteousness, for he is a baby. But solid food is for full grown men, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil. Heb 5:11-14.