When I turned 55, I went with our son to see a movie. There was a sign indicating a senior discount was now available to me. Tyler nodded toward the sign, with a wry smile. Well, I didn’t want the dad gum discount! But he encouraged it, so I went for it. I told the young lady that I wanted the senior discount. Her response, or lack thereof, was one of the most disappointing in my life. She said nothing. She didn’t question me at all. She didn’t say “Oh, you look mighty young to be getting the discount.” All, she did was tell me the price and take my money.
We measured growth with Tyler and Natalie like you did with your kids. We have feet and inches marked on the inside of a door, and we say “My, you are growing up.”
Growing up happens naturally in kids. The vocal chords and blue jeans can’t keep up. Young love grows by the moment. In fact, when growth in kids doesn’t happen, then we know something is wrong.
Some people think that growing older and growing up are the same. However, the large number of candles on a birthday cake are really not that impressive. The senior discount at the movie is not a source of pride. Just getting older is not such a great accomplishment; most people do it. No if you are 90 or 100, then that is something. But, there are some young people who are more mature than their parents, and some of the least mature people live in nursing homes.
How much information do you have to have to be grown up? What amount of knowledge would qualify you as mature? I am going to give you a five question quiz. Keep your own score.
- What is Spiderman’s real name?
- Which is bigger—an ostrich’s eye or its brain?
- What official unit of time is 1/100th of a second?
- Who recorded Strangers in the Night in 1966?
- What is the longest recorded flight of a chicken?
The correct answers are Peter Parker, the eye, a jiffy, Frank Sinatra, and 13 seconds. How did you do? Does such knowledge make you an adult or are you embarrassed that you even know such trivia? How much you know is not an accurate measurement of growth. There are a lot of people who know lots of stuff but fail at life.
Lots of folks measure maturity by meeting their next goal. When they finish school, when they get a job, when they retire, then they will be content. They’ve made it! They get all the things that are associated with success—an education, a house, a job, but they never really figure it out. They “put the right foot in, they take the right foot out, they do the Hokey Pokey,” but they never figure out “what it’s all about.”
We went to California a few years ago and I stood at the base of a Redwood tree. The darn thing was about four or five times as tall as the church steeple. It reached to the clouds. Do you know what’s really impressive about Redwoods? They’re still growing. Though they are about a thousand years old, they’re still growing. They add about 500 board feet a year.
Well, truthfully, I have a few circles around my trunk, if you know what I mean. But I need to keep growing. I need to grow spiritually. I need to leaf out again. I would rather be tall timber than dead wood. How about you?
“And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).