Tom Albin, director of The Upper Room ministries, commented during his address to the Bishop’s prayer convocation that he thought the Christian Church in North America was stuck in the fifth grade. He went on to describe what he meant. Fifth graders are at the top of their school, getting ready to move on to middle school. There is a feeling of knowing all there is to know. They love field trips. They want to be entertained and get bored easily.
Now, Tom’s observation is a generalization, but when I look back at my life, I see a lot of what he means. When I look at the church, I see all too clearly what he means. The Christian church today is not growing, numerically or spiritually. If we do not grow spiritually, there will not be growth numerically, only decline. As a body, we do want to be entertained, and we are easily bored.
We find Paul writing to one of the churches. He started taking them to task for still eating baby food. In Hebrews we find the writer saying much the same thing, adding that God’s expectation is for us to be growing and as we grow teach others what we have learned.
During this time of social distancing we have some time to reflect on our lives. During your self-examination, spend some time looking back at where you were last year. Compare that with where you are this year. Have you moved, grown from that point, or are you stuck in the fifth grade?
The question for all of us is: Do we want to stay there, or are we ready to move on to what’s next?
Loving God open our eyes, mind, and heart to see and know the path we need to travel so that we might grow and mature in our faith. Amen.
Always, to God be the glory!