3 We always thank God,Colossians 1:3-12 (NIV)
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,
. . .
9We continually ask God to fill you
with the knowledge of his will
through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,
10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord
and please him in every way:
bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might
so that you may have great endurance and patience,
12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father,
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance
of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
Do you know anyone who gave birth to a baby without hoping and preparing that the child would one day grow up and be on his own. As your daughter graduates from high school, don’t you assume she’ll continue to learn and develop into a mature responsible adult? Likewise, every ministry must prepare, plan and grow or it might as well prepare and plan to die.
In the same way, our minds must continually be growing. I really enjoy watching my grandson learn new things everyday. He’s growing so fast. Not just in height and weight, but in the way he thinks. He learns new words constantly and the world is an exciting place for him. Even a dandelion blowing in the wind will bring a “WOW!”
But just as much, I enjoy talking with older saints who refuse to stop growing. Their bodies don’t work like they once did, but these grandmas never stop asking questions, reading scripture and studying. I know 70 year olds who just bought their first computer and picked up books they’ve never taken time to study before. Their minds stay sharp because they continue to grow.
On the other hand, I see others the same age who won’t even attempt anything new. They believe they don’t need that new fangled information.
This principle not only applies to our physical bodies, but also our spiritual life. Just as you feed and nurture a baby, so you must constantly feed and nurture your spirit. Jesus called God’s Word, “The Bread of Life” and “Spring of Living Water.” The scripture contains delicious morsels essential for sustaining life.
As I sadly consider that second group of church elders, I wonder when they stopped growing. Not the folks who avoid technology, but the ones who believe they’ve heard every sermon and know all the scripture they need, so they quit. They completely stop the growth process. And as any farmer will tell you, when the seed ceases to grow, it begins to die.
We each have a choice to make. We can choose to grow until we pass from earth into heaven, or we can choose start dying early. I’m not sure why anyone would choose the latter, but day after day I meet people who’ve chosen to begin to die. Not physically, but spiritually.
I can give you examples of those who’ve chosen to die, but I believe it would be better to give you examples of some who’ve chosen growth over death.
Aunt Ethel passed away in 2007, but more than 10 years before that the doctors gave her six months to live. Many thought she should stay in bed and preserve the weak heart. Physicians said it could give out at any moment. Instead, she continued her daily routine as much as her heart would allow. She slowed her pace some and grew weaker and thinner; however, my 80-something aunt learned how to use e-mail and continued to have stimulating conversation with anyone who would visit. During one of my last visits with her, she was gravely concerned with her sister’s temporary ill health and talked as if her own malady were just a cut or scrape in comparison. Right up until the day she died, she was still growing. The time finally arrived when her body gave out; however, her mind and spirit spent her final days living life by choosing to grow.
I hope if you’ve ever driven through Southeastern Ohio, you may have had the opportunity to meet Helen. She’s gone now; but at age 94, she was still managing the general store her father started in the late 1800’s. She sat in the front row of the church so she could hear the pastor because “hearing aids were for old folks.” Yes, she’d probably get one when she got old. Some thought her stubborn for not wearing the devices; but she believed them a sign of not growing. She made countless quilts each year, and I’m assuming one waited in the quilting frame on the day her body quit working. Although her body showed her advancing years, her mind never stopped turning and growing.
Finally, let me tell you about Betty. Somehow, I think everyone thought Betty would never die. Perhaps it was because she never quit asking questions, questioning the answers and growing in her spirit. At age 70 she brought more questions to the Bible Study discussion table than anyone in the room. She contemplated every answer and held it up against scripture. When they called to tell me Betty had gone to be with Jesus, I was speechless. It had never really occurred to me that Betty wouldn’t be in that house across from the church. Even with white hair and a frail body, she never seemed old enough to die. Her joking was full of love, her fun was youthful and her passion for life and learning were childlike.
So, now, today, I want to ask you, are you growing or are you dying? Those are your only two options. Consider this carefully, it might be the most important question you’ll answer this week. I’m assuming since you’re reading something other than the daily paper, you’re choosing to grow.
I pray you live a Colossians 1 life and never stop growing in the knowledge of God, for everything that is growing bears fruit and everything that is not growing is dying.
By the way, if you’re a church leader
who wants more help growing the church,
check out this Free Book
And If you liked this devotion, then you’ll LOVE this!
Why? Because if you really want to grow,
top church leaders use daily devotions!
Check this out!