Summary: Sermon 13 in Galatians series. Believers are compared to a child who has grown up and no longer needs a pedagogue. From slavery to freedom, from slavery to sonship!
Growing Up (Gal 4:1-11)
How do you know when you have Grown UP?
I know what you are thinking – some of us never have
But really – how do you know?
Something kind of missing in our culture nowadays is a rite of passage, some ceremony that shows everyone that you have come of age.
It is a big deal in some other cultures
Barabaig culture in Tanzania, E. Africa
In their rite of passage for boys who are becoming men, their heads are shaved and they are cut down to the bone on their forehead with three cuts, from ear to ear
Among the Luiseño Indians boys are made to lay on top of red ant mounds being bitten by the ants without crying out for their initiation rite into manhood
It sounds strange and even a little cruel to us, but after they go through this ceremony, they are considered an adult. Or at least a young adult.
There is a clear line in time separating their childhood and their adulthood.
After they have crossed over that line, they are expected to act differently, more like an adult and less like a child. They gain new freedom, but they are also expected to take on new responsibilities, duties.
We do have some similar traditions in our culture.
There are milestones that mark the way, let you know that you are getting closer to being an adult.
I remember the first time I was allowed to drive a tractor on the farm, all by myself, all the way down the road to get a big bail of hay and take it to the field to feed the cows.
There was new trust, new freedom, but it came with new responsibility – I had to look out for where I was going, I was responsible for caring for the tractor while driving it, I was the one who had to remember to close all of the gates, check the fuel and oil on the tractor, look over the cows as they came to eat, look for anything unusual.
It was a big deal for me. If a kid is ready for it, the more you expect out of them, the more adult they try to be.
Then I remember getting my drivers license and my car. My mom got a newer car and I was allowed to drive the 1977 chevy impala. A dark day for the streets and sidewalks of Harrisonville. I got my first ticket for speeding before I even had the actual plastic license. I still had a paper printout waiting for the real one in the mail (not like now when you get it right away.) Testimony to the fact that kids don’t always step up and shoulder their new responsibility in a very adult like manner.
I drove my date to my first Prom when I was a Softmore in HS. It was close call whether I got to or not because I took a practice drive with my Mom and cut someone off on the freeway, almost got us both killed. After she got her heart started again, she decided to let me go ahead and drive anyway.
With a new car, I had a lot of new freedom – and my poor mother had a lot of new worries. I really feel sorry for her when I think back on my years growing up.
New freedom, new possibilities, I could get a job and start making money (another milestone) so I could pay for gas, buy some of my own clothes. Along with that freedom came new responsibilities. I was expected to begin acting more like an adult and less like a child.