Emerald has learned to wave. You know that phase of babyhood where everyone constantly makes fools of themselves trying to get the baby to do a new trick? Yeah, that’s where we are. We wave and wave and say, “Hiiiiiiiiiiii! Hiiiiiiiiii, Em-u-ruld! Hiiiiiiiii, bay-beeee!!!!!” And she looks at us with some mild interest and mostly just drools or laughs or goes back to her regularly scheduled gnawing on a rubber duck. Every time she does it, we clap and hoot and holler and make a huge fuss over it because we’re so proud that she has figured this thing out. She learned this trick a couple of days ago and has only done it a few times, but the more we prompt her over the next few weeks and the more we wave and wave, the more she’ll start to wave back. Then, once she’s waving all over the place, we’ll quit hooting and hollering. We’ll smile and say, “So cute.” Before long we won’t even notice her waving. She’ll wave and wave and we’ll rush to get the bag and get out the door or we’ll be too busy looking at our grocery list to notice.
But, never fear! Soon she’ll have a new trick to master, and we’ll start all over again, making fools of ourselves, encouraging her to do it with our silly gestures and our loud voices and our clapping and cheering. Baby Progress. It’s a family affair.
Imagine if Emerald grew to be a teenager and she still wanted waving to be her big, impressive trick. Picture her waking up at ten, walking into the kitchen for some breakfast, waving like mad at me while I sit at the table reading. What if she kept waving, saying, “MOM!!! Can’t you see I’m waving at you? Hello? Aren’t you impressed? I mean, you’re not even clapping or anything. Sheesh, what’s a girl gotta do to impress people these days!!!” Chances are, since I would remember that she mastered waving at six months old, I wouldn’t be all that awed that she can STILL wave at 16. It would be ridiculous for her to ask me to cheer for that.
But, that’s what we do with God all that time. We become Christians. We are spiritual babies. We start learning more about God and His word, and we grow a little in our faith. Then we go years and years without growing any more. We get complacent. We are happy with our first trick. Years later, we expect God to still be thrilled by our little bit of growth, even though we should be much more advanced in our knowledge of God and His ways. The Bible puts it this way:
“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” (Hebrews 5:12)
Nobody wants to be a spiritual baby. Growth comes through study, prayer, and sound teaching. Just like Emerald, we need our family to help us. Our churches offer sound teaching and cheer us on as we grow. And, our Heavenly Father probably gets just as excited as a mama who is seeing her little baby’s new trick for the first time. Let’s not keep asking Him to be impressed with a mediocre faith, though. We’ve had plenty of milk. Time to move on to the meat.
If you’ve been a Christian for awhile, and all you’ve mastered is the wave, it might be time to move on to your next trick. God is ready and waiting to cheer you on. And I have a feeling He’s pretty excited about Emerald’s actual waving, too, because He’s wonderful like that.