Illustration results for maturity
British poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once had a discussion with a man who firmly believed that children should not be given formal religious instruction, but should be free to choose their own religious faith when they reached maturity. Coleridge did not disagree, but later invited the man into his somewhat neglected garden. "Do you call this a garden?" the visitor exclaimed. "There are nothing but weeds here!"
"Well, you see," Coleridge replied, "I did not wish to infringe upon the liberty of the garden in any way. I was just giving the garden a chance to express itself."
Daily Walk, March 28, 1992
We’ve probably all heard the expression, “This separates the men from the boys!” What kinds of things separate the men from the boys? Things that involve danger and risk. Things that take courage and a willingness to sacrifice. Things that are grueling and gut-wrenching. Things that require maturity and perseverance, not just boyish enthusiasm and energy.
In a sense, that’s what this parable (the Good Samaritan) teaches about the Christian life. Jesus isn’t separating the men from the boys, He’s separating the real Christian from the merely religious.
The following quotes from people at various stages of their lives shows the maturity that should take place in our perspective toward God and the world around us.
PROGRESSION OF WISDOM WITH AGE
You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk. Age 7
I like my teacher because she cries when we sing "Silent Night." Age 7
When I wave at people in the country, they stop what they’re doing and wave back. Age 9
When I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes me clean it up. Age 13
Though it’s hard to admit it, I’m secretly glad my parents were strict with me. Age 15
Silent company is often more healing than words of advice. Age 24
Brushing my child’s hair is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Age 29
Wherever I go, the world’s worst drivers have followed me there. Age 29
If someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it. Age 39
I’ve learned you can make someone’s day simply by sending them a little card. Age 44
Children and grandparents are natural allies. Age 46
The greater a person’s sense of guilt, the greater his need to cast blame on others. Age 46
Singing "Amazing Grace" can lift my spirits for hours. Age 49
Motel mattresses lie better on the side away from the phone. Age 50
You can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles three things: 1) A rainy day 2) Lost luggage 3) Tangled Christmas tree lights. Age 52
Regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them after they’re gone. Age 53
I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life. Age 58
If you want to do something positive for your children, try to improve your marriage. Age 61
Life sometimes gives you a second chance. Age 62
You shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back. Age 64
If you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if yo ufocus on your family, the needs of others, your work, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. Age 65
Whenever I decide something with kindness, I have usually made the right decision. Age 66
It pays to believe in miracles. And, to tell the truth, I’ve seen several. Age 73
Even when I have pains, I don’t have to BE one. Age 82
I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. Age 92
THE WISDOM OF BABES
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Out of the mouth of babes?” Certainly you have. It comes from the simple truth that sometimes it takes a child to reveal lasting wisdom. It seems foolish but it isn’t!
· Patrick, age 10, said, “Never trust a dog to watch your food.”
· Michael, 14, said, “When your dad is mad and asks you, "Do I look stupid?" don’t answer him.”
· Michael, wise man that he was also said, “Never tell your mom her diet’s not working.”
· Randy, 9 years of age said, “Stay away from prunes.” One wonders how he discovered that bit of wisdom.
· Kyoyo, age 9, said, “Never hold a dust buster and a cat at the same time.”
· Naomi, 15 said, “If you want a kitten, start out b...
THEY'VE ALL BEEN WRONG
Looking back at how Christians have viewed Christ’s second coming in the past, we find many people obsessed with figuring out all the details and making predictions.
Here is a quote: "The last days are upon us. Weigh carefully the times. Look for him who is above all time, eternal and invisible" That statement was not made by a modern prophecy expert. That statement did not come religious TV. It was made by a Christian named Ignatius, who lived in 110 AD, just a few decades after 1 John was written.
Here is another quote: "There is no doubt that the Antichrist has already been born. Firmly established in his early years, he will, after reaching maturity, achieve supreme power" That statement wasn’t made by a radio prophecy teacher. It was written by a Christian leader named Martin living in 375 AD.
In the year 236 AD a church leader named Hippolytus predicted that Christ was sure to return by 500 AD.
The years between 999 and 1030 AD were characterized by excessive speculation about Christ’s second coming among Christians, so much so that it led to social chaos as farmers didn’t plant crops for the next year, buildings weren’t repaired, and the details of daily life were neglected because they thought Christ would return in their lifetime.
In the 1500’s the Protestant reformer Martin Luther said, "We have reached the time of the white horse of the Apocalypse. This world will not last any longer… than another hundred years."
Christopher Columbus said he was sure the world would end by 1656. The year 1666 saw an explosion in end time speculation, so much so that one pastor wrote in his journal that every time a storm hit, people would go to church to await Christ’s second coming.
In the 1800s a Christian named William Miller said, "I am fully convinced that somewhere between March 21st, 1843 and March 21st, 1844 Christ will come." When Miller’s date came and went, hundreds of people walked away from the Christian faith. If their pastor was wrong about that, what else was he wrong about?
In our own generation, many modern day prophecy experts guessed that 1981 would mark the rapture of the church and the beginning of the terrible seven year tribulation period that would culminate in the battle of Armageddon. Now as we near the year 2000, dozens of prophecy experts on Christian TV, radio, and in books are making new predictions related to the year 2000.
Christian historian Richard Kyle cautions us, "Through two thousand years of Western history millions of…sincere, devout, and knowledgeable people have seen the end as [about to happen in their own lifetimes]…But they have all been wrong."
SOURCE: Timothy Peck. Citations: Richard Kyle, "The Last Days Are Here Again," pages 27, 55, 87. Abanes, "End Time Visions," pages 337-338.
In one of his books, James Emery White tells of the Russian-American comic, Yakov Smirnoff’s, initial response to the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores. He said, "On my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk--you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice--you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I thought to my self, what a country!"
Wouldn’t it be great if conception and childbirth were that easy? Maybe not. Wouldn’t it be great to just add water to our spiritual births and voila instant spiritual maturity! However, it isn’t that easy, is it?
Jim Cymbala (as described in his book Fresh Wind Fresh Fire) looked around a saw a small rag tag group of church goers surrounded by a city of muggers, transvestites, drug addicts and more, and realized he was in trouble. He was overcome by his own inadequacy to lead the church, as well as his lack of answers for the world.
In his desperation, he began to search for answers, yearning for the power that can only come from God. At the end of his rope, he felt the Lord impress on him, deep within his soul, that God’s power would be with them, if only he and the church learned to call on His name to supply their needs.
And so began a heart felt, focused, consistent commitment to prayer by he and his church. And they began to see God work powerfully in the lives of people swallowed up in sin and society, transvestites giving up walking the streets for ministry and marriage, gang bangers learning to be leaders for the Lord. And their church began to grow—toward maturity and in numbers.
Do we really see the need or are we numb?
If we see—revival prayer starts with us.
Charles Spurgeon: The best style of prayer is that which cannot be called anything else but a “cry.”
Are you ready for crying out to the Lord?
Cymbala concluded: “If the spirit of brokenness and calling on God ever slacks off at Brooklyn Tabernacle, we’ll know we’re in trouble—even if we have 10,000 in attendance.”
Gene A. Getz, in his book, The Measure of a Church, asks the question, "What is the measure of maturity in the church?" And he lists what others believe are the measure of maturity:
1. An active church (involving people in meetings and programs)
2. A giving church (supporting the church and efforts financially)
3. A growing church (new people coming and staying)
4. A soul-winning church (leading unbelievers to faith and baptism)
5. A smooth-running church (efficient and orderly)
6. A missionary-minded church (supports missionaries around the world)
7. A Spirit-filled church (enthusiastic, emotional)
8. A big church (large attendance, with many programs)
God used Paul to give us a different measure for maturity of the church. Paul says that the church is mature when it functions like one body, where Jesus Christ is the Head.
When Esther was a newborn, we could see her eyes wanting to reach for a toy, but her hands and arms were not yet able to cooperate. As she became more mature, her body parts began to do what her "head" wanted her to d...
CHILDREN ON SILENCE
Author Kathleen Norris used to play a game with elementary-school children in which she would make a deal with them. "First you get to make noise," she would bargain, "and then you’ll make silence."
The time of noise was always predictably chaotic -- shouting, pounding and stomping, like a football team exploding out of a locker room. But the period of silence that followed was unexpectedly passionate and creative. When the children were asked to write about it, reflects Norris, "their images often had a depth and maturity that was unlike anything else they wrote."
One boy discovered that "Silence is a tree spreading its branches to the sun."
One third-grader’s poem turned into a prayer: "Silence is spiders spinning their webs; it’s like a silkworm making its silk. Lord, help me to know when to be silent."
And a little girl offered a gem of spiritual wisdom that Norris finds herself returning to when her life becomes too noisy and distracting: "Silence reminds me to take my soul with me wherever I go"
(Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith [New York: Riverhead Books, 1998], 16-17).
When we follow the command of Jesus to be silent, we spread our branches to the sun and soak up the light of God’s love, forgiveness and peace. When we hear God’s still, small voice, we are like silkworms spinning the silk of a sanctified life. When we listen for the guidance of the Lord -- really listen, instead of telling the Almighty all about what we are convinced we need to achieve -- we rediscover that our most precious treasure is the God-breathed soul that each of us has from the very beginning of life, a soul that we really should remember to take with us into all the splendid surprises of each day.
Dr. Bruce Emmert
Dr. Henry Cloud and John Townsend teach that, ?as a rule, children don?t know what they are doing. They have little idea how to handle life so that it works right. That?s why God gave them parents ? to love them, give them structure and guide them into maturity. [From Focus on the Family website: Adapted from Boundaries With Kids by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. in the May/June 1999 issue of Physicianmagazine. Copyright © 1999, Focus on the Family.]