Does Mature Rhyme With Manure?
A very young, redheaded boy came running to his momma from water’s edge. He was screaming and crying and wailing and gave grave looks of anguish. “What is wrong?” piped the mom. “The water I put into my sand castle will not stay in! It keeps getting out (wail, wail, blah, blah)” cried the young boy.
All of this was taking place less than ten feet from my beach reading perch.
“Honey, would you come take care of your son?” screamed the boiling mother at her husband. “What is going on? What’s wrong?” blurted the rescuing dad. “Our son is ruining other people’s vacation by screaming and crying and acting horrible,” the young mom replied as she glanced my way.
Actually, I didn’t mind the little redhead. It was the parents screaming and yelling that made me somewhat uncomfortable. I pushed my hat down over my brows and began focusing more intensely on my book about loving Jesus.
And then I heard some classic words. “You need to grow up, son. You can’t treat other people and your mom like this,” the father heralded. I’d bet some sand dollars, if the kid knew what “mature” meant, he would whisper something about rhyming with manure. Does mature rhyme with manure? When you’re trying to grow up, often times it does.
But what are the alternatives to maturing? Not to mature? Manure?
We knew a family in Indiana whose son stopped growing at an early age. They had to give him growth hormone shots. I was quite the ordeal. What if that little redheaded boy displayed exactly the same antics six years from now as he was plowing through his teens? That would be a problem. That would smell like manure.
My son Michael continues to excel with his guitar. He’s played since he was six. Three years ago, as an eleven-year-old, he played with a local band here in Florida. You can CLICK HERE to watch. As you can see, Michael was little. The people applauded his young guitar skills and probably his boyish cuteness.
This year Michael wanted to play again with the band in Florida. Michael has grown considerably since that first beachy performance. He’s now 13. Sherry and I talked about how Michael is losing that cute, little-boy appeal which made his guitar playing a few years back so unique. If Michael hadn’t matured as as a guitar player in the past few years, this year’s Sunshine State performance could smell like manure. You can CLICK HERE to see what happened. See any difference?
I love that boy, and I’m glad he’s growing, and learning and maturing. Anything less might smell a bit like… But Michael has worked on his guitar skills. Weekly guitar lessons and daily playing continues to plow him ahead with his passion of music and guitar.
Why would we approach our lives in Christ any differently? Wouldn’t it be a problem if we didn’t grow from year to year? We would call DFACS in a heartbeat if the parents of the redheaded beach boy didn’t pursue intentional growth and maturity with their kid. I would not encourage Michael’s ongoing public guitar playing if he remained at a skill level of an eleven-year-old but was shaving.
All of this begs the question, does an immature Christian, after a while, begin to smell like manure? Is it possible nobody notices the smell? Why is it OK for Jesus followers not to grow? Would an hour on Sundays be enough? Is that intentionality? Maybe we don’t know what maturity looks like. Do we understand what meat and milk really is?
Matt Chandler writes, “What we call the basics of Christianity — the Gospel of Jesus Christ — is in reality both the beginner’s level and the advanced class! It (the Gospel) keeps offering deeper wisdom if we will keep pressing into it.” The Apostle Paul, who singly focused on the one thing of the Gospel, writes: “We press on to the upward call of God in Jesus Christ. Let those of us who are mature think this way.” Paul’s focus was Jesus. The Gospel.
The Gospel is power. The Gospel is Jesus. We are to fixate our eyes on Him. We are to be Gospel saturated, addicted, and passionate. This is maturity. Why don’t we long, yearn, and moan like creation for the story of Jesus?
Chandler’s book, “To Live Is Christ To Die Is Gain,” is all about maturing. It’s a wonderful exposition of the New Testament book of Philippians. Paul wasn’t berating, correcting, or yelling at these folks. This was a healthy church. Paul was able to focus on growth and maturing all with Gospel centrality. What a wonderful, liberating concept.
Tomorrow I will write my final 2015 Study Break blog to outline my practical takeaways from two weeks of study. It’s been good. It’s been all about the Gospel.