by Mike Pyatt
The Robin family moved into my wife’s hanging plant about a month ago. It has been both marvelous and humorous up close and personally observing the birthing process of baby birds. Neither of us are ornithologist, if so, we’d call them Turdus migratorius, a migratory songbird. We’ve learned a thing or two about Robin’s habits. Momma Robin rules the roost. She’s highly protective of the eggs she lay. Since God has created all life, one could anticipate some commonality with our winged creation. Mother and Father Robin work closely in this arrangement-a tag team approach-feeding and protecting. Once the first two hatched the real work commenced. Protection and nurturing, wholly engaged in anticipating the fuzzy little creatures every need.
After about a week the two chicks do two things-eat and sleep. While awake, the pair chirp, necks constantly stretched, beaks wide open and begging, awaiting Mother and Father Robin to stuff them full of insects and worms. One “bird brain” claims the two chicks will consume fourteen feet of worms during their gorging stage. It’s outside one man’s realm to know what Robins think, but through observation, the babies are totally absorbed with two things-eating and being coddled in their comfort zone. That’s what baby birds do before they attempt their first solo flight in about thirteen days after hatching. Whether it’s God’s crowning glory of Man, or Robin chicks, it’s cute to observe. Not so much when human adults behave similarly.
Sadly, this metaphor describes a segment of the Body of Christ, who’re bunkered in their comfort zone, waiting for God to feed them, exerting precious little effort to participate. One could label them as incapacitated foodies. Of course, God’s not surprised by this comportment, though He never endorsed it. In fact, the Apostle Peter affirms the nature of newborns craving in I Peter 2:2, as a vital component of growth. However, it’s a sign of immaturity when adults behave like newborn. Stunted Christians should progress to eating meat at some stage-moving beyond the milk stage. It wasn’t a compliment to still be on a pablum diet, when meat was on the menu, described in I Corinthians 3:2, “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you weren’t ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” Dwarf Christians contribute little to the Body of Christ. Picture “adults” frolicking around church in pampers, distracting the work Jesus Christ with childish, boorish antics. Hyperbole perhaps, but the metaphor stands. It’s inordinately out of character.
Paul considered them as “brothers” but he characterized them as “worldly not spiritual.” God’s plan’s clearly outlined in the Scriptures is birth, growth and maturity. Leaving behind the elementary. It’s observable in God’s creation. Plants grow and mature; animals likewise; and we mortals have our schematic design and purpose. In our realm, flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to the Spirit. Paul was vexed that the Galatians or Hebrew converts, they were born again, but not growing. Most troubling to the living church is that the “baby Christian” is self-absorbed, rather than serving others. One must face the facts, unbridled pampering the baby has a predictable outcome-a spoiled self-serving offspring. In our own realm as parents we’ve experienced first hand how an infant demands everything their way-be held, be fed and ever-present comfort. The slightest noise may jolt them-exploding-unpredictably predictable. Brethren it ought not to be so with us. It’s time to grow-up. It’s not merely the passing of time in the Christian realm that leads to maturity, but by obedience to the will of God. Few understand there’s no substitute for obedience.
C.S. Lewis understood the elusive element of humility, which a newborn of any species will not attain. He observed, ”True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.” That must be inculcated specifically into the Christian’s pilgrimage to that eternal destiny. Proof that the #MeToo generation was predated in the early church’s #MeOnly generation. There’s a burgeoning membership to this day. One mustn’t confuse the admirable childlike faith that Jesus said is a must to enter the kingdom. Just as newborn babes rely wholly upon their parents, His followers must be wholly dependent upon our Lord. There’s also no substitute for loving God with all one’s heart, mind and soul. Cultivating a growing knowledge of God’s word leads to loving Him more deeply, transforming a formerly immature relationship into a vibrant growing one. Ignoring the challenge to grow spiritually leads to a sub-race of theological dwarfs.
G.K. Chesterton observed, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” There’s personal effort involved to eclipse that stage of ever-present comfort of the “baby bird syndrome.” Oscar Wilde’s 1890 novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is a parable of childish behavior because Dorian Gray refuses to grow up, desiring to retain his youthfulness and remain forever childish, committing a catalogue of sins that stunt his spiritual development. One needn’t be an ornithologist to be a bird-watcher, no more than one need be a theologian to grow spiritually. Don’t be a Dorian Gray. Be who God has called you to be. Superficiality must yield to substance. As mortals there’s no surcease to struggles, but as a serious Christian, one mustn’t submit to “infantile behavior.” What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s email@example.com