My mind has been taking me on some strange paths, recently.
You who are parents, have you ever given birth to a post-pubescent adult, ready to join society as a productive member. “Skip the diapers, Mom, but could you hand me my shave kit? I gotta go find a job.”
It doesn’t usually happen that way, does it? No, the child that shows up after labor is fully formed in the sense that all the raw material is there, all the parts are functioning, but nothing is mature. They need nourishment, a whole lot of love, and a couple of decades of experience before they get a good handle on life in this new place. The birth is worthy of celebration, but now the real work begins.
I’ve been reflecting about how the same truth applies in The Kingdom: ain’t nobody born again as a mature believer. All the raw material is there, all the parts are functioning, but nothing is mature. They need good nourishment, a whole lot of love, and a couple of decades of experience before they get a good handle on life in this new place. The birth is worthy of celebration, but now the real work begins.
Honestly, helping folks grow in this new realm is a lot of what our job description is about. The Bible phrases that our work is “...for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ...” That's a worthy target!
I hold what is sometimes considered a screwball opinion: I think this is really everyone’s job in the Kingdom.
We say (heck, I have myself said!), “But I have so much to learn myself! I can’t teach anybody! I must learn myself before I can teach!” That doesn’t seem to impress God all that much.
First, there’s the well-documented truth that the best way to learn is to teach others.
Second, the reality is that you (and I) don’t need to be perfect before we start helping others grow. Father once said to me, “You don’t need to have finished the race, son. You just need to have 20 minutes more experience than the one you’re training.” Hmm. OK. I can do that.
Someone really smart once said, “Encourage one another, and all the more, as you see the Day approaching.” So I guess this is incumbent on all of us, isn’t it? We’re all “One anothers.”
I told you my mind went strange places. Now let's go build up some folks around us.