Stunted Growth

About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For, by this time, you ought to be teachers, you need someone again to teach you the basic principles … you need milk, not solid food… .  ESV

Hebrews 5: 11-12


This fascinating description of my state used to amuse me.
 I liked being a baby Christian.
People constantly told me how proud of me they were.
Made sure I felt valuable to the kingdom of God,
That my talents were useful.
 I was loved.
 It’s what we crave as kids and young adults.
 We need it to have courage enough
To push ahead, explore, and grow.
We need to be sheltered from some of the hard things
 Like the inevitable politics that seep into even the Christian life.
Things that make being a leader more difficult.
But there comes a time when I need to start growing up.
And as I resist I question:
Why do I, of all people have to grow up?
I want to be fed only milk.
 I don’t want to graduate to the real meat of a relationship with God.
 I want to stay in the entry hall of Christian life.
And I pull back from the taste of mature relationships.
 Someone has to constantly tell me I am important.
To reassure me of all the people in the world, God loves me,
I am important to God, the world, and my Christian community,
 To point out my good points, so I will have courage to try,
 To provide opportunities for me to serve,
 And convince me I am acceptable to the community and God.
But, somehow, I never learn the lessons.
 I have to keep being taught those wonderful basics over and over.
I never get to the place of growth in my relationship with God.
 I never become a responsible, adult Christian.
 I’m stuck with the teen-age preoccupation Of the relationship is all about me.
And I even become a useful arm of my church,
Lending my gifts to the cause when I feel I can,
And experiencing those wonderful spiritual highs
When God comes and blesses His work.
Those times we all put in our spiritual scrapbooks!
And indeed, how blessed those times are for the whole community of God.
But when it is not about me and my abilities,
I feel left out, abandoned by the church.
I do not commit myself to long-term responsibilities,
I let first commitments go when something more enticing comes by.
 I don’t dig into the satisfaction of always giving my best,
The work of just planting seeds, sometimes not seeing results.
 And I miss the deep assurance that no matter what:
I am loved I am a full member of God’s family,
I have God-given gifts to contribute to His work
Even if no one ever knows I do them.
And the life-sustaining joy of letting God take charge.
And it’s no longer all about me - Not that it is never about me.
I have to work at the relationship with God,
Continually giving more and more of myself to God,
Joyfully loosening the knots of sin and self absorbing preoccupation with self.
I learn to love the time I spend with God, helping my teen-age self become an adult Christian.
But so many of us are stuck.
We make God teach us the same lessons again and again and again.
Until we are bored with them.
And we don’t go on to the next lesson.
We drop out, Like we do out of school, or relationships,
 When things aren’t enough about us.
And never know those things that make adult living joyful:
 The joy of contributing to someone else’s happiness,
The pleasure of sharing our gifts and who we are - just for the pleasure of sharing.
We never know the deep assurance, peace, courage, and constant companionship of God.
We never experience the awe of being used of God.
We stay in the lobby of Christianity, drinking chocolate milk.  

One response to “Stunted Growth”

  1. Why didn’t I have this poem 20 years ago to jar me into growing up. My growth pains were so horrendous, such stops and starts. Finally in God’s gentle and sometimes not so gentle way I got the message: Grow up!!!! What a journey its been as a mature adult walking with God. Thanks for putting it into perspective.


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