by David Sisler
Aristotle once said, "There is a foolish corner in the brain of the wisest man."
If Aristotle is right, and personal experience indicates that he is, maturity is a hard-fought quality of life, and it has nothing to do with an individual's chronological age.
From all appearances, Sayed was a normal four-year-old Afghan child. One day while watching his father do some mathematical calculations, Sayed asked, "What are those?"
"They are numbers," his father replied.
"Teach them to me," Sayed said.
In ten minutes the boy had learned the numbers one through ten, within four hours, he had learned the numbers one through one billion. In two days he was doing addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. At age six, a complex, 80 question test was devised to test Sayed's intellectual ability. He answered every question correctly.
In 18 months, with six months off to rest, Sayed completed requirements for his high school diploma. Estimates were, he would graduate from college in one year and complete the program for a Ph.D. by the time he was eleven.
Intellectually, Sayed is very advanced, but what about maturity? How could a child, not yet having begun the physical and emotional changes related to puberty, handle the intricate world of college and beyond? Unfortunately, no accurate test has yet been devised to test maturity.
Former First Lady Barbara Bush watched a 62-year-old retired construction worker face a difficult situation and reach a maturity his age had not afforded him.
A television program celebrating the bicentennial of the United States Constitution was filmed before a live audience. A man who had only recently learned to read was scheduled to read the Constitution's Preamble. Just hours before the filming was to begin, he became so nervous, he wanted to cancel his appearance.
Mrs. Bush suggested they read the Preamble together. As the camera's rolled, the performance began as a duet, but as the man's confidence grew, Barbara Bush lowered her voice. With maturity born of confidence, the man finished reading alone.
If you were the parent of a Down's syndrome baby, a mongoloid child, how would you thank God for the gift of that very special child? Your baby will make some advancement. She will gain goals restricted to her special circumstances. She will grow, but will be limited in her achievements. Could you say as one father did, "She is a daily reminder to me of how immature Christians must look to God. She challenges me to grow."
Do you know you can go to church Sunday after Sunday and never grow beyond a very immature stage? Do you know you can go to Bible conferences, seminars, and conventions and never progress in your Christian life? God described such people: "They draw near to me with their words. They honor me with their lips. But their hearts are far removed from me."
The Apostle Paul gave the Roman believers the key ingredient to Christian maturity: "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind."
Jesus said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind."
What did Paul mean about a mind that needs renewing? What did Jesus mean about loving God with all your mind? They meant all of the faculties of your mind, all of your imagination, all of your understanding, all of your creativity, are to be transformed by conscious effort toward the things of God.
Don't settle for immaturity. Your maturity in God is limited only by the boundaries you set on it. When you were a baby you lived on milk. When you were a baby Christian you did the same thing. Now it is time to grow up.
Published in the Augusta Chronicle 10/22/94
Copyright 1994 by David Sisler
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