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.
One of the signs of our continuing immaturity is the belief that we can get something for nothing (check out the lines at the lottery ticket sellers on Friday nights if you don't believe me). A few years ago, a newspaper in Seattle, Washington, published something it called the "Cost of Nothing Index." The author of the article discovered that you could spend over $30.00 a month and get nothing in return for your money.
For example, the minimum charge on each homeowner's water bill was $2.10. In other words you were charged $2.10 each month by the city of Seattle, even if you never turned on a faucet. The electric company charged a minimum of $1.50 on each bill for bookkeeping purposes. So, even if you never turned on a switch, you paid for the privilege of having electrical power at your house. There was a monthly charge of $5.45 for the sewer, even if you never flushed the toilet. The telephone company billed you $8.25 per month even if you never made a telephone call and never received a call. You didn't have to turn on the television, and the cable company still billed almost $10.00 a month. Is that called getting nothing for something?
If you were the parent of a Down's syndrome baby, 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. In spiritual things, as in life, if you invest nothing, nothing will be your return.
Published in the Augusta Chronicle 11/20/99
Copyright 1999 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.
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