Friday, March 18, 2011

No longer a child

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (1 Corinthians 13:11)

Yesterday I had an experience that brought this passage to my mind. I cut a gash in my leg just above my knee. This gash is not far from one from my youth, when I was teenager. It is about the same size and severity. But when I was a child, this gash was debilitating. It kept me from participating in PE in Junior High School until it was healed. But yesterday, I examined it to see that it was a clean laceration that cut completely through the skin but did no serious damage to other tissue beneath the skin, walked to the truck, acquired my first aid supplies, applied some antibiotic ointment, a bandage, gauze and tape to hold the bandage in place and the wound closed, and finished the day’s work.

Truly a man thinks and acts differently than a child. Part of this comes from the responsibility of adulthood and manhood. A man dare not let the troubles of the world beat him down. He has responsibilities to fulfill. So he presses onward.

I tended the wound more thoroughly when I arrived home. My wife was aghast. This is why I did not tell her of the event when we spoke on the phone. She heard discouragement in my voice and commented on it, but since there was no reason to share the cause with her at that time I waited. I will be out on the job site a bit later again today.

St. Paul used this contrast to make a point regarding a person’s spiritual walk through this world. He used this contrast to demonstrate the difference between what we perceive now and what we will be shown when the Lord brings us to heaven. When we see and know the Triune God face to face, we will understand fully that the many gifts that He has bestowed in this world were insignificant contrasted to the restoration to His Holy Communion. Then all of the struggles and trials of living in this world of sin will fade, as will the many temporal gifts. But the Holy Trinity remains, as God gives Himself to us through His means of grace we receive the everlasting gifts of faith, hope, love, the gifts of the very presence and activity of the Trinity in our lives. When a Christian grows to understand this, spiritual maturity has been reached. No longer is the person impressed by this or that spiritual gift, and much less so with the worldly gifts. Now the person appreciates and relies upon the gift of God Himself, that which remains forevermore.

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