On Monday, five-year-old Shayna’s eyes stretched into saucers as she spied me splitting sixteen-inch logs with one whack. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” she asked. “Maybe you should be a wood- cutter.” I’m not yet grown up! Love that girl.
I might be tempted to pride in her assessment of my youth, were it not for Eli’s earlier counter-comment. My grandsons were pondering my age. “67!” Isaac guessed. “Not bad. Actually, I’m 68.” A dramatic pause. Eli, in hushed tones: “And you’re still alive?!?”
Yes, still alive. At age 68. Can you believe it? And —sorry Shayna!— most people think I have grown up.
But should we grow up? In one sense, yes. Corinth abounded with baby believers who thought that razzle- dazzle in their services was proof extraordinaire of the Spirit’s work among them. “Stop thinking like children,” Paul counsels. “If everyone is babbling away in tongues, wouldn’t an outside observer conclude that you are insane? Isn’t speaking logically, using your minds, far better?” Some Hebrew Christians were worse. Though they had believed long enough to qualify as teachers, some needed to re-learn the ABC’s. “Grow up!”
In another sense, it’s OK to stay kids. First, we don’t need to know all sin’s gory details. Better to never muddy our minds with most of that muck. “In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.” Second, children model faith: “Unless you become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Third, why wane in our wonder at the world and the works of God? Fourth, it might good if some of us laughed more often. Fifth, let’s never stop learning.
Not all here have yet attained the ancient age of 68. On the other hand, perhaps one or two among us have surpassed even that. Whatever the calendar reads, God wills that we “still yield fruit in old age, be full of sap and very green.” Full of sap … but not sappy.