Growing Up to Be a Child

I gave this high school baccalaureate homily yesterday in Bancroft, Nebraska. It is about being child-like and open to God’s blessings, even if we don’t expect or plan on them, because we have a true, caring Father in heaven.

You are about to take a large step. You are leaving the security of your family on the way to becoming a grown-up. I'm not going to burden you with changing the world, though. Even if it were possible, that is too much to lay on someone. Instead, my advice is to be child-like.

This may be exactly what your trying to avoid, but this is what God Himself would have you do. Adults seem to have everything planned out; they act in control. That is what you are supposed to become. So, you are told to worry about your education, career, family, and success. That is quite a lot.

If you take that route, pretty soon you are worrying about how you are going to pay for your unborn child's college tuition, before you have even started college. That doesn't sound very fun. What I am saying is don't lose that child-like wonder. Don't narrow your future based on your own limited imagination. The only thing I can promise is that your future will not turn out like you have planned it. To be a in-control, set-in-stone, perfectly planned-out adult, is not possible. You have a heavenly Father who likes to chuckle at our plans. We are all children, even if we don't admit it. And that is the only way to approach the future---without depression or psychosis. Because someone else is in control.

To children, life is a mystery. They embrace the unknown and get excited about the many possibilities. They ask questions and want to know why. They think like the words of Psalm 8: When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

We really are like grass, that is here today and gone tomorrow. Old age and forgetfulness will come to us all. If you live long enough, you will likely need someone else to dress you. Don't aim to change the world. After all, fathers set their children's goals.

You have a perfect Father, who will be a father to you. In Jesus Christ, we have forgiving God, who truly cares. "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" [Matt 6]

Enlightened adults act like they have it all figured out. But what joy is there in knowing the end of the story? Being a dependent child is more freeing and interesting. Children are free to make mistakes. A good father might let you skin your knee, but not break your neck.

We need a perfect Father. When sins overwhelm and your plans disintegrate, be a helpless child. Then you are strong in the heavenly Father's strength. This Father sacrificed His perfect Son Jesus, so you could be His child. So be a believing child. A loved and protected child. Don't worry about your future, but trust in His fatherly care. You are very valuable to Him, whether you have a career or not. This is the only way to have true life.

Children do not aim to be successful, they instead try to please their father. In this way, let the Lord determine your success. Be open to His blessings, even if you didn't exactly choose them. Let God worry about your future. Just enjoy what He gives you. After all, life is short on earth. We would rather be with our true Father anyway.

A song-writer [Bob Dylan] once wrote: "He not busy being born is busy dying.'' To be a child, a child of God, is to be alive. Just strive for what is right and do your best. He will lay out a good path for you. He will pick you up when you fall. Even less than perfect earthly fathers do that. A child sees each day as a gift, not a burden. Never stop learning. Even if you are done with homework, you need a Good Teacher. Jesus calls and instructs by His Word. Listen and learn from Him. He will not flunk you. He will guide you to the heavenly Father.

Classes are almost over, but there is much to learn and see and do. So much, that I hope you can say this, as a child of God, about your high school years: "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. [Bob Dylan again]" Amen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice post for a 45 year old...as one tries to ponder and plan life now that most of the kids are grown. I'm still thinking about "my" future...have to start thinking like a child again. :)