"I'll Never Grow Up"
by Steve Hale
While on vacation a couple of years ago, Cindy, the children, and I went to see a production of Peter Pan at the Cumberland County Playhouse in Crossville. Peter's famous refrain, "I'll never grow-up" still rings in my ears. It was a delightful and enjoyable production.
In plays, skits, and movies, this is a funny and entertaining line. In real life, it is tragic.
Being a Christian means maturing, growing-up, and becoming stronger in the faith. The Corinthians boasted about their various spiritual gifts. Their child-like behavior almost sounds like the proverbial: "Well, my Daddy's stronger than your Daddy," or "my Mommy's prettier than your Mommy."
Children can be mean and even vicious with their competitive barbs. At Corinth, it was "my gift is better than your gift." "God loves me more than He loves you." Paul, astounded by this behavior, wrote: "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, thought as a child, and understood as a child; but when I became a man, I stopped childish behavior" ( 1 Corinthians 13:11).
Succinctly, Paul was saying: "Brothers and sisters, grow-up!" This same appeal needs to be made today.
A friend was recently chewed-out by one of the elders where he was preaching. The reason? He was preaching with his coat unbuttoned.
As a young and struggling Christian, I was put in charge of the Lord's Supper one Sunday evening. In asking those who did not partake of the Supper in the morning, I said: "If you did not have the chance to partake of the Supper, please come now, and you will be served."
One brother really laid into me after the service, He said "chance" indicated "gambling," and so I had in essence profaned the Supper. Had it not been for a lot of great brethren encouraging me at the time, I don't know if I would have made it through that disappointing episode.
Brethren, please encourage our young men as they serve in a public way. We must build for the future. We cannot build with the constant wrecking-bails of pessimism and destructive criticism. Encourage our song leaders, our Bible School teachers, our elders, our deacons, our youth, our elderly, and each other. You constantly encourage this preacher. Thank you!
Children and the childish exchange their insults and barbs. They pick-up their ball and run home when things do not suit them. Have you grown-up?
October 24, 1993
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