I meet a lot of Peter Pan Christians. These are people who never seem to grow up. Years ago Amy Grant had a song “Fat Baby” about this very phenomenon. She sang about ‘babies’ who never moved past consuming milk and who never moved on to find their place in God’s scheme of things.
My wife loves babies, and I have a fondness for a few very particular infants but let us admit there is no more self -centred consumeristic being than a baby. A baby wants what a baby wants when a baby wants it. They cry until their needs are met. They spit up and dirty diapers and wait impatiently for the mess to be cleaned. They do nothing to contribute to the family or society at large. They are the centre of the universe and the world revolves not around the sun but about them. All this is true and we love them. I see my laddie buck Declan and my heart melts! One day however, I look forward to playing catch and getting into mischief with this wee fellow. I expect him to grow up. This infant phase is a beautiful one but I would be disappointed if he did not move on to other beautiful phases.
The chief evil that assails the Church of the West today is consumerism! Every Christmas we hear preachers rail against the blatant consumerism of our diseased culture. The Church, though, needs to be careful about the “beam” in its own eye. How many of us see church as a place where our needs are met. When the chorus is repeated too often or the sermon runs long or ‘change’ in general occurs we may not cry aloud like babies but inwardly, oh inwardly, we whine and outwardly we whinge. If our personal desires remain unmet we may leave. We may “go church shopping”. Can there be a more consumeristic mindset than this!
Last Sunday at Purposeful we looked at this need to grow up. In 1 Cor. 14 we saw that each of us were called to contribute. I think an improvement of JFK’s famous line, might be, “Ask not what others can do for you but rather ask what you can do for others.”
The next time I find myself feeling that my needs are going unmet I ought to “give my head a shake” and look to see what need I could meet in others. Can I smile? Can I pray? Can I ask a question designed to draw out these needs? Do I have a word of encouragement or helping hand?
What can I give? This is the question that moves us from ‘fat baby’ towards adulthood. This is certainly a part of becoming more like Jesus. We have a little less than 6 months before we rail against the consumerism of Christmas, let’s use the time to take the beam from our own eye.
PS I am writing from a Kenyan themed motel room in Niagara Falls. I will not be blogging for the next couple of weeks. Hope you miss me. <><