A couple of weeks ago I was eating lunch under a pavilion behind our church with a friend. While eating we saw a fawn in the field nearby. We decided to go in for a closer look and were shocked at how close the little deer let us get. We stood just a few yards from the deer and even took several pictures of it. When we were done admiring it, we headed back to finish our lunches. But as we walked back to the picnic tables the baby deer followed right at our heels.
We didn’t know what to do. We couldn’t get it to stop following us. It would let out a cry, look up at us, rub against our legs and even lick us. It must have thought we were it’s parents. We were finally able to get away from it and watched it from a distance until it’s mother returned.
At the end of chapter 5 and the begining of chapter 6, the writer of Hebrews talks about the importance of moving on to maturity. Hebrews 5:12-14 says, “12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.”
This little deer reminded me of the person being described here. It was so vulnerable and ready to follow just about anything simply because of how immature it was. Verse 13 says, “For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.” There is a real danger for the believer who does not follow these instructions to move forward to maturity. Without the maturity, that comes “through training,” they are simply unable to discern between right and wrong. I have seen so many people make terrible decisions or even fall away from the Lord because of this. They will follow ideas, doctrines, desires and numerous other things that they have no business following after. Too many are content to stay on “milk” and end up acting just like that fawn and are led away.
Not only do we set ourselves up for spiritual blindness, but we also miss out on the deeper things God has for us. Heb 5:11 says, “There is much more…” There is much more! I want to learn about the “much more.” But the only way to get there is to put into practice what I already have, to train myself and move forward.
“And so, God willing, we will move forward…” Heb 6:3
I love berries. I think they might be my favorite food. I have have blueberries,red raspberries and black raspberries all growing in my yard. Blueberries are far and away my favorite, but I love them all. I would like to say that it is because I am so health conscious and constantly aware of the vitamins and antioxidants and whatnot that I consume, but, I just really like the way they taste.
Right now we have loads of ripe berries in our yard. I was outside picking some this morning. In fact, I just finished a bowl of cereal topped with berries from our yard.
While I was picking today I started to think about the time Jesus said that the fields were “white unto harvest.” Jesus was referring to people who were in need of ministry. I had never thought of it before, but apparently there is some sort of “ripening” process. Some people must be more “ripe” than others, or, more ready to be ministered to. It kinda makes sense. As I was picking berries I also noticed how easily a ripe berry is harvested. When you pick a ripe berry you have to do little more than touch it and it falls off of the bush. But when you jump the gun and try to harvest a berry that isn’t quite ripe, there is resistance. Often some tugging, and fighting are necessary to get it off.
Some people certainly are more receptive of Jesus’ love and the Good News, while others want little to do with it. So, as I gathered my harvested, I started thinking about the ripening process. What changes one of these hard, little, unripe berries, that refuses to be separated from their stem, into a tender, ripe berry that is easily gathered? Exposure to the sun.
I think this awareness of a “ripening” will help me to have the right mindset when spending time with non-believers. I don’t need to spend my time tugging and twisting and struggling. If they are not “ripe” they simply need more exposure to the Son. Simply by allowing God to use me as an expression of His love, and allowing His Spirit to be active in my life, the “ripening” is in progress.
Last night my daughter lost her first tooth. It was an exciting moment. The tooth had been loose for quite some time. It wobbled while she talked. She moved it back and forth with her tongue. It had become so loose in the last week or so that I couldn’t figure out how it was staying in her mouth at all. But as I put her to bed last night, the weeks of anticipation finally climaxed and the tooth came out. She was so excited. She jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom mirror so she could look at the new gap in her smile. She ran down stairs to show her mom.
I know it is silly, but I was a bit emotional. I was emotional because she was so excited about it, and that was touching to me in some way. I was emotional because it seems like just yesterday my wife and I were excited that her teeth were starting to come in and it reminded me how quickly time passes. I was emotional because it reminded me of how temporary all of this is.
Jesus warned us about how temporary things are. In Luke 21:33 he says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away.” Jesus was not trying to simply remind us that things won’t last forever, he was trying to direct our focus to what will. If he had left things right there it would be a bit depressing, but he went on to say, “my words shall not pass away.”
I can get pretty sentimental about the passing of time. So much so that a child’s tooth falling out causes me to tear up. I think it is good to be aware of how quickly time passes. But instead of allowing it to stir up sadness in my heart, I am going to allow it to be a reminder of what is permanent and of my need for His Word.