While in college, I had the opportunity to learn how to parachute out of plane. Now, for some reason, my dad was not so happy. Neither was Bob, my soon-to-be-finance. They each mounted their separate retaliations, and whether it was because of those, or lack of funds, or lack of time, or simply collegiate inertia, it never happened.
My dad was happy again.
When most kids decide to go to college, they are only around 18. They may feel mature, and indeed, people thought I was mature. I was not. I was responsible—that’s learned behavior. Maturity, on the other hand, is more than learned behavior. There is a growth process required, and growth takes time. T-I-M-E.
Current brain research is telling us that the frontal part of the human brain, that is, the part that is responsible for making good decisions as well as interpreting and dealing with life circumstances, is not fully formed until around the mid-twenties. This certainly doesn’t indicate that no one over 25 ever makes bad decisions or preclude anyone under 25 from making good ones. I married my husband when I was 20 and, as it has turned out 36 years later, it was a very, very good decision, albeit not a totally informed one. (There is grace, thank God.)
The point here being that, as Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither are people.
Unfortunately, in our star-struck American culture, I’m afraid we tend to push up-and-comers into the limelight before they’re ready to handle the stage. We see this in several areas, but the most tragic is within the body of Christ. Of course, the Holy Spirit’s timing is what He decides for each person, but I sense that His timing is probably slower than what we usually expect.
The writer of Hebrews puts it this way:
“Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.”
Paul likewise warns against putting someone in the spotlight before they are spiritually mature:
“An elder must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall.”
The operative word here is fall
It is most critical, and the responsibility of those older in our faith, to protect those younger in the faith, those whose spiritual frontal lobe is not yet matured, before sending them out or putting them up front and center. Otherwise we’re sitting them up for a free-fall…
… without a fully packed parachute. (Splat.)
Hebrews 5:14; 1 Timothy 3:6 New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights