Daily Devotional–Thursday,March 25,2021
“There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.” (Hebrews 5:11-6:3, NLT)
Can’t you hear the exasperation in the writer’s voice? Much like a parent scolding a child who has attained an age to understand what is right or wrong, yet continues to revert back to behaviours more appropriate to that of a younger child, the writer of Hebrews is frustrated. S/he* bemoans the inability to teach the letter’s recipients greater knowledge of the faith because, despite their many years as believers, they still haven’t fully accepted the basics. The scolding continues; after so much time they should be teaching, not needing to be taught the fundamentals over and over. In neglecting to study to understand, they have become satisfied with living the life of fat babies.
But they are no longer babies! Babies grow up and mature. The sight of a baby nursing at its mother’s breast or drinking from a bottle is an endearing sight. But, what would you think if you met a perfectly healthy eight year old who still ate exclusively from a bottle and needed regular diaper changes? You’d think something was wrong. I get the sense that the writer of Hebrews is equally frustrated, perplexed, maybe even a little repulsed by the fact that these aged Christians are quite content to wear the diaper and drink the bottle of a new believer.
Just as we mature physically and intellectually, those of us who have made a commitment to Christ should be maturing spiritually. The evidence of our growth comes in our ability to determine right from wrong, unwavering loyalty to God and a determination to live for him. It is, in fact, each of our responsibility to become teachers. We do not all have the Holy Spirit’s gift of teaching, but we are called to teach, just as we may not all have the gift of discernment, but we all must exercise good judgment or just because we do not have the gift of evangelism, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be readily sharing about our faith. The things that you have come to understand about God and his Word are now yours to share, not hoard.
It’s time for a spiritual check-up. Are we growing up spiritually healthy? Or have we become petulant demanding babies who want only the milk of new believers and the occasional pablum? Are we teaching others the truths we have discovered or are we still stuck on whether to believe the basics of the Christian faith? Is our loyalty to God being demonstrated through consistent good deeds or are we content to play in the jolly jumper while others do the work of Jesus’ final commission—go disciple, teach and baptize? It may be time for some of us to get serious about doing a little growing up.
*The mixed pronoun ‘s/he’ is used as the writer of the letter of Hebrews is unknown. Various plausible authors have been suggested by scholars, including Barnabas, Apollos and/or Priscilla, though no one knows for certain.
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!