On Tuesday my oldest son will turn eleven. While this is not a ďmile markerĒ age, whenever one of my kids approaches a birthday I always have a little bit of nostalgia. It has been a common practice in our home to always retell our birthday childís birth story. We love sharing with them the sheer joy that entered our lives upon the day in which they were born. But, as I share that story I am reminded that they arenít that little anymore. Josiah is closer to being a man now that he is being a baby. And while that can (and has) brought a tear or two to my eyes, it also makes me proud of the person that he is becoming. He no longer is that person that cries when he is hungry. He no longer is that person that is completely helpless. He is now a person that can fix supper (albeit a simple one) do the dishes, wash, dry and fold laundry on his own (with them sorted properly as well). My little one is growing up and will soon be all grown up. Even as I visited Nora this past week we both started talking about how it just doesnít seem right that she is not home. I watched my youngest two grow up in her living room. I remember keeping the same things out of reach of both Noah and Kaitlyn. Even now, I get a little misty-eyed. There is no doubt in my mind my children have grown. For those of you who are parents, you have seen the same growth in your own children.
Peter said in I Pet. 2:2 that we are to long for the pure milk of the word so that we may grow thereby. This growth is supposed to be clearly seen. ďFor though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food (Heb. 5:11).Ē The writer of the letter to the Hebrews saw something amiss these believers. They werenít growing correctly. (I wonít get into the details of why they werenít growing). But, their lack of growth was quite evident. Sadly, this issue hasnít disappeared. Christians today still suffer from a lack of growth. I once knew a Christian that was in his 50s. He had been baptized in his early 20s and he wouldnít serve the church, he couldnít tell you the steps of salvation. He never came to bible class prepared. As I contemplated his faith, all I could see was a person that stopped growing when he was a baby. What shocked me was the fact he still went to services, because beyond that I didnít really see anything in his life that showed a change since the day he was baptized.
In just three weeks I will have been here for seven years. Going back to that baby analogy, how much growth happens from day one to year seven? There should be quite a bit of difference in their appearance, skills, language, abilities, etc. If there isnít, we know something is drastically wrong. So, looking at our relationship over the last seven years, looking at our church over the last seven years it is better? Has it grown? It is still looking like an infant? Are the people who are here now that werenít when we started our journey together? When whole churches were stunted in growth we find warnings from God that something has to change. Look at 5 of the 7 churches of Asia (Rev. 2-3). Only two of the seven seemed to be firing on all cylinders. And two of the seven seemed to have been so bad that nothing positive could be said about them. One had left itís first love and the other was so stagnant in growth that Jesus said that he wanted to throw them up. The mere thought of the church made Jesus nauseous (Rev. 3:16). Is that where we are? Would Jesus find us deplorable? Or are we like the 3 that had seem some progress but need correction, or are we the two that ďget it.Ē We may not be perfect, but we are all actively growing towards salvation.
After you have answered these questions, ask why. If things are moving in the right direction, then what do we need to be doing to assure that things continue to move in that direction? Do we need to focus upon certain teaching, what are we doing to prepare the young people for service in the Lordís vineyard? If things arenít moving at all, then we do we need to do to right the ship? Is it the preaching, the teaching, the listening? The Lordís church is too important to do nothing. We need to see it growing. And we need to see in more and more every day.
Grinnell church of Christ
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A Growth That is Seen
Volume 7 Issue 44