The necessity of growth

by DanWolgemuth on December 17, 2010

Desmond Matthew Horst is nearly four months old. He’s the youngest of our four grandchildren, but it would seem that he’s on a visionary and diligent course to catch up with the other three. This boy is a beautiful chunk!

Earlier in the week I spent some time with Alli and Chris as they cared for Des. They’re great parents and delighted with every developmental step that their young son takes. Like – new things that make him smile, sounds that he’s making, expressions that he’s demonstrating…etc.

But yesterday, I observed from across the room as Alli implored Desmond to roll over. He was on his stomach with his head hoisted toward heaven. He most certainly was wobbly, but there were certainly signs that he could soon be making the transition from front to back as well as back to front.

Internally, I chuckled. Mobility, even in incremental stages creates wonderful opportunity… and yes, significant challenges. As Des starts to propel himself, he begins to access what previously had been unobtainable. Case in point, Graham Marc Wolgemuth and Davey Elizabeth Wolgemuth; having just crested the one year mark, they are motoring machines without sense or constraint. They climb, explore, discover, and yes, in the process they hurt themselves. The limitations of infancy are no longer an issue… they’re liberated and fearless. They also frequently sport scrapes, and bruises, and bumps. They are the authors and perfectors of grandparent worry.  “Are the stairs blocked? Are the knickknacks out of reach? What did they just put in their mouth? Do you think the swelling will go down before their parents return?”

They were safer as infants. So I’m left asking the question… why is Alli encouraging Desmond to roll over? Isn’t she just inviting disaster? Isn’t this the entryway to hurt, and pain, and cuts, and broken bones?

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”  ~ Matthew 28:19 (ESV)

Jesus’ familiar command at the end of His earthly ministry sheds light on the question. Growth, risk embracing growth, are not only part of our physical makeup, but our spiritual configuration as well. Jesus isn’t content with spiritual infants… He commands us to invite and expect growth. He didn’t instruct Nicodemus to be “born again” and then stay there. Jesus expected this new convert to grow.

The Spirit of God whispers in our ears… “Roll over!” “Now crawl!” “Now a step or two…” All the while inviting the risk, the dents, the cuts and bruises.

Yes, make disciples. Invite discover, and disappointment, and discouragement, and pain, and hurt… but grow. And not just until we learn to walk or run or drive or … but until the day the Father welcomes us home. Every single day that we can still tug oxygen into our lungs.

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”  ~ Luke 2:52

From the safety of Bethlehem to pain of Calvary – once again Jesus shows us the way.

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