If you're buying furniture, it's obviously really important that you buy something that fits in; something that's going to do what you need. Imagine if you found that the chair or table you purchased was breaking, or changing shape, because the wood wasn't cured properly, or (what a thought) was still growing somehow. I know it sounds ridiculous, but think of it... you'd take it right back to the store, wouldn't you? You'd ask how people could sell substandard furniture; we simply don't expect furniture to change.
Hang in with me; there's a point to this...
Recently we waved goodbye to 'Stiv', our middle child, who's gone to Bosnia for a couple of months to help with Church Summer Camps. (www.emekberaka.org) He traveled via Budapest, to visit with his sister 'Cat' for the weekend. She will be turning 24 on the 14th of June; she's doing a year of research with a Human Rights/Aid agency in Hungary.
It's a long time ago, now - but I still remember those early years of parenting. We proudly announced the birth, weight and length of each child, and then kept a close eye on each as they progressed from baby to toddler. I smile to recall Catherine's struggles to move around, very early in life. Child Development specialists tell us how important it is for children to crawl properly, as it teaches them to sequence, and this helps them to walk, run, throw and even spell words later in their young lives.
First steps are a major milestone, and following the correct development patterns for height and weight are (literally) vital signs of health. If we don't see the kind of growth expectations that are normal, our natural and reasonable response is to take our kids to the Doctor and ask if there's something wrong.
Do you see the folks around you as Children of our Heavenly Father, or as furniture?
I can hear some of you saying: "Ok, what's he driving at?"
Simply this. When you sit in church on Sunday morning, look around you. Do you see the people as Children of our Heavenly Father, or as pieces of furniture? Are you expecting them to grow and develop as disciples of Christ? Or would you rather they stayed the same, reliable, predictable people you've known all these years? It's easy to understand the temptation to want things to be reliable, predictable - the same as they have always been. Reliable as our favorite armchair, our family sofa. We look back fondly at the wonderful days when we were younger, or when the children were young... but the fact is, nothing is the same because we get older, our children grow up - and God wants us to grow spiritually, too. I'm looking forward to growing deeper spiritually as part of our lives together at Bethany. I hope you're looking forward to growth, too. It's the right kind of change.
Colossians 1.9 So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. (NLT)