A Diaper Change, Anyone?
There is no doubt that a newborn needs nurturing or it will die. Newborn humans are pathetic. They have to be taught to eat, diapered until potty-trained, taught to walk, talk, and read. When first born, all a baby has to do is smile when having gas, and the family rejoices thinking that the baby is enjoying life!
Once born, the process of the baby is to wean itself from its mother. It may be weaning from breast-feeding to solid food, mom spooning in that food to feeding oneself, eventually potty training procuring urinary independence. By the time it hits it teens, weaning means socially pulling away from mom and dad, becoming independent, getting a set of car keys, and maybe, eventually a job, though not a “real job” as dad professes. The goal is to have them mature into an adult. The ultimate insult, after working so hard to become independent and create one’s own identity, is when someone says, “You are just like your mom (or dad)!” Ugh! That which you worked so hard to become independent from, you have become! How ironic!
Spiritually, it is not that much different. Newborns in the faith have to be taught to eat (private devotions of personally reading the Bible), picked up when then fall and have their “boo-boo’s” fixed (taught grace and mercy), and taught to become independent from those who have spiritually parented them. Hopefully, someday, you can tell them, “You look like your Dad, Father God”. There is a “God-likeness”, a “Godliness” about your presence. “I can see Jesus in you; you look like him!” We all want to grow into the fullness of Christ Jesus.
As a Church, how do we take a newborn from an evangelist, and get him to the prize of being in “the fullness of Christ”? What mentors does he need on this journey? If it is not the evangelist’s responsibility for his growth, then whose is it?
I have been in a baby-dedication service where the parents take a stand before a congregation that they will try to raise their newborn in the best Christian environment possible, leading them to the time when the child can make a personal profession of Jesus Christ for themself. Then the congregation stands and vows that they will stand beside the parents in this spiritual journey. Is that “stand” only symbolic? As a congregation, a church, how are we to stand beside parents in the nurture of their children spiritually? Who can best help nurture that child next to the parents? That is what we are going to be looking at in the next series of blogs as we study the pastor/shepherd, the one whose passion and point of view is to nurture those who have been born through the evangelist’s passion.
Join me on this next step of our spiritual journey through the “Five” as the Holy Spirit “reveals” each one of them to us.