Age-Appropriate Spirituality

Years ago, our vernacular changed. We have made words into verbs that were once nouns. Now, instead of doing math, we math. Instead of playing music, we music. Get it? I guess it is not official and technically not grammatically correct, however, I love it. I think the most popular one is probably adulting. That is the new vernacular for being responsible. Things such as paying bills, going to the doctor when we're sick, buying a house, etc - these things are classified as adulting.

Has anyone ever told you to grow up? It's not a good feeling and most of us react in anger when this string of words is said to us, but, we've all been there and had those moments where we were acting childish, and we knew it, whether we were angry about being called out for it or not.

Because I know your time is limited, I'll get down to brass tacks here. As members at Mt. Pleasant UMC and as Christians, we have responsibilities. All of us have responsibilities. Lots of people think church membership is simply about coming once in a while or even every week and getting your weekly dose of holy or get your "get out of hell free" card punched. It is so much more than that.

It's all about discipleship. It's about growing up in faith. Growing up in faith involves responsibility on our part. If you have already taken that responsibility, good for you. We all know people who are chronicalogically older than their maturity level. These are the ones who will blurt out anything that is on their minds without thinking about how it will affect someone else. They are the ones who are self-absorbed and may think that their actions are on the adult level, but they are still in kindergarten, on the playground.

Being an Adult-Christian looks much different from being a Child-Christian or Adolescent-Christian. Being a child-christian, one is completely self absorbed and in it for themselves. Those are people who are in it simply because when we die, we're going to go to heaven. Faith for them doesn't go much past this point. Adolescent-christians are the ones who think they do not need anyone. They are those who may pray and when God answers with anything except a yes, say that prayer does not work and only pray when they want or need something, and pray with very little faith.

Being an Adult-Christian means being one who is in a loving relationship with God. These are the ones who instead of pray to a "Santa Clause" like god, only coming to God asking for things, are thankful to God and asking God what is on God's heart. These are the ones who are caring for others in faith. These are those who are self-sacrificing for others. They are the parent-like people who give up for others.

In John 15:13, Jesus says "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." We all think that means that it's a heroic taking-a-bullet-for-someone-we-love kind of martyrdom we think about when we think about laying down one's life for someone. It certainly can be that. But, more, it is the self-sacrificial love that happens every day - every time we give up our time to be with someone; every time we take someone under our wing; every time we do something for someone else that involves real sacrifice--giving up doing what we want to do in order to care for someone else.

In The Hobbit movie, (I do not believe this is in the book, but still a great quote) Gandalf says, "Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love." It is the small everyday acts - those small sacrifices everyday on the part of us who call ourselves Adult-Christians.

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