ABBA FATHER – Thank YOU for another opportunity to share YOUR truths. Open our hearts and understanding so that we can receive and develop and become workmen not ashamed but correctly interpreting YOUR words so that others can receive and develop and grow. In the Matchless Name LORD JESUS!
2 In the same way that nursing infants cry for milk, you must intensely crave the pure spiritual milk of God’s Word. For this “milk” will cause you to grow into maturity, fully nourished and strong for life— 3 especially now that you have had a taste of the goodness of the Lord Jehovah and have experienced his kindness. 1Peter 2:2-3 (The Passion Translation)
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good …Psalm 34:8(a) (King James Version)
11 We have much to say about this. But it is hard to explain because you are so slow to understand. 12 You have had enough time so that by now you should be teachers. But you need someone to teach you again the first lessons of God’s message. You still need the teaching that is like milk. You are not ready for solid food. 13 Anyone who lives on milk is still a baby. He knows nothing about right teaching. 14 But solid food is for those who are grown up. They are mature enough to know the difference between good and evil. Hebrews 5:11-14 (International Children’s Bible)
Developing Spiritual Children
When I was a little girl at my grandparents’ home in South Carolina, I sat in a corner, picked up my Pop’s bible and started reading. I don’t remember the passage, but I do recall my Pastor’s-Wife-Sunday-School-teaching grandmother walking in, taking the bible away & telling me, “I don’t want you reading this.” When I asked her why not, she told me that I would not be able to read the words in it. I remember very vividly assuring her, “Oh no, Nana! I’m a really, good reader! I’m in the top reading group in my class!” She smiled at my innocence and handed me another book – The American Standard Version of the Bible and my own catechism to study. Then she explained that she knew that I was a good reader, but she wanted me to use a version of the Bible that would make the words plain and clear to me. Little did I know that Nana was my first lesson in establishing and developing a Spiritual Child! My Nana was my first MasterLife Facilitator!
She saw my ‘infant’ need for nourishment and as my first real disciple-builder, began gently establishing the roots of a new spiritual child. Yes, I needed (NEED) the WORD to grow and flourish but Nana also recognized that I needed ‘milk’ … just like Peter said in 1Peter 2:2-3! Peter reminds me of my Nana with his ‘gentle’ instruction to crave the WORD like a baby longs for milk.
As babies, we ‘discovered’ new tastes all the time, don’t we? “Mmmm! What was that?!? It was good and it plunked in my tummy!” Their little fingers grasp for it! “More! More! More!” And our grown-ups happily share, excited about the eagerness and anticipation!
But not too much – not yet. You must establish a tummy strong enough for the next thing. We don’t introduce peaches and peas at the same time, for example, because we need to recognize if there are allergies and what to address.
And the same way we entreat a new-born baby, we should help our new-born spiritual siblings to grow and be strengthened … Established. But we can’t stop there! There is more - much more! At some point, I would need to move from the pureed peaches to a pork chop!
Now, if my Nana was my Peter, then without question, my Margaret is my Hebrews Writer! Margaret is my spiritual Mom and one day, when I was falling apart at her kitchen table, she asked me a simple question that I still apply today. “You’ve been down this road before. What is this really all about?”
That was the best question ever! It caused me to look deep inside to the root of the situation and say to my Self, “Listen – you are not a baby anymore.”
The fact was - I HAD been down that road before! It was time - beyond time - to apply the Word that I danced and shouted to every Sunday!
“You should be on meat by now. You should be helping, teaching, guiding … DEVELOPING someone else!”
From my ‘great cloud of witnesses – my Nana and my Margaret to Latriece and Mother Coates; from my Pastor Burton to my Cousin Pastor, from my Pop and my BishopPastor all the way to Peter and that Hebrew guy; – I have learned this very important thing:
In the same way that we don’t leave a human baby to fend on his own, we must initially slow walk a babe in CHRIST. The same way we would not serve a T-bone to a 3-month old, we must offer helpful, loving, patient guidance and aid to our new or newly rededicated siblings in CHRIST … allowing for baby steps and stumbles. Then, later, when they face the bumps in the road along the way, be there to remind them that GOD’s Mercy still endures, and HIS Grace is still sufficient!
Then we can watch like I imagine Barnabas and Ananias did, with the humble pride of parents, as our spiritual children walk across the stage, fully-developed – ready to join and perhaps even to surpass us in ministry.
One plants. Another waters. And ABBA FATHER continues to provide the increase!
Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)