The grand-boys had come for dinner, and as little Jimmy (then 4 ½) stood by “his” chair, he touched the strapped-in “booster chair” and said, “Nana, I don't need this anymore.” Oh, another milestone of growth. First, he was a babe in arms. Then he sat in a high-chair where he slopped his food all over the tray. Finally, he was promoted to the “big people table” in a booster seat next to his brothers, with his own plastic dishes and place mat.
Hearing his request, I unstrapped and removed the booster, and he sat down, way down, so that his chin was almost even with the tabletop. Knowing he wouldn't want to resume the “booster seat” era, I found a thin foam pillow for him to sit on to give him a little height. That suited him just fine. Growing up with stair-step older brothers, he's tried hard to keep up with them. And even a little matter of outgrowing the booster seat was important to him.
Someday, even, he will grow out of the “foam pillow” boost, and his chin will steadily rise from table-level. Someday, that chin will have whiskers! I'm not sure I'll still be around for that, but for now, I'm glad I can encourage his desire to “not be a baby anymore.”
Later on, that incident got me thinking about “baby Christians” and the need to grow past the basics of accepting Jesus' death for our sins, and growing in the faith. One of my spiritual mentors years ago (a godly senior – the age I am now!) challenged me with her faith-walk and consistent scripture memory program. For some reason, this verse she recited to me—with a tear in the corner of her eye-- stands out from all the others:
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 (KJV)
Even at her age, this godly woman didn't consider herself Christian "enough” to coast with her current faith-walk. She was always growing, always praying, always reading and memorizing scripture. And it showed—in her eternal confidence and compassion for her family and the bigger needs of the world. She was into the “real meat” of scripture and into the “real heart” of prayer. I loved her and learned from her.
I think her distinctive spiritual character was that she loved her Jesus and she loved the scriptures. Her Bible was so well-used that it seemed molded to her lap. Such intimacy with God's Word doesn't come from haphazard reading or a quickie in a devotional. As I observe today's media culture (computer/smart phone addiction to gaming, social sites, other entertainment) capture the hearts of this next generation, I wonder: where will be the spiritual giants? Will they succeed in saying “no” to excesses of entertaining videos or social media to cultivate the most important relationship of all—that with the Lord Jesus? Will they grow out of the “baby habits” of a snitch of scripture here or there (if any) and really “chew” on mature spiritual food? Will their lives show it?
Such questions I ask myself: have I moved on from baby food to real spiritual meat? Is it making a difference in my life? Does scripture “give me a boost” to love my Savior even more?