By This Time You Ought To Be Feeding Others: Grow Up
In the book of Hebrews, the writer rebuked those he was writing to because, “by this time” they should have been feeding others, but they could barely feed themselves (Heb 5:11-6:1). These verses give legitimacy to the expectation that with the passing of time one should not only be feeding one’s self, but others as well. This post takes a look at three different stages of Christian development.
A baby needs to be fed. Babies can’t feed themselves. They need to be nursed or fed a bottle. If they aren’t fed, they cry and whine.
When a person puts their faith in Jesus and they begin to follow Him; they need to be fed by others.
Eventually as children get older and are healthy, they start feeding themselves. If children don’t start feeding themselves as they get older, there’s legitimate cause for concern.
As time passes, healthy followers of Jesus start feeding themselves. They learn how to study the word, pray, and “strengthen themselves in the Lord” (1 Sam 30:6). Unfortunately for the Christians who make it to this stage of development, many choose to stop developing.
But there’s another stage.
When a person becomes a mature adult, they not only feed themselves, but babies as well. They don’t whine about “not being fed”. That’s what babies do.
They are responsible to feed themselves with a healthy dose of the personal disciplines, supplemented by training from leaders, while also taking responsibility for the development of others.
They have vision for both their discipleship and the making of other disciples. They entrust what they’ve heard “to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim 2:2)
As natural and spiritual fathers and mothers, they turn their hearts to sons and daughters. (Mal 4:6)
“They look not only to their own interests but also to the interests of others.” (Phil 2:4)
I have a brother-in-law with down syndrome and I’ve also coached a special needs soccer team. We expect people with special needs to act and think like children or babies, even though they have adult bodies. They’re developmentally disabled.
But when healthy people with no physical or mental handicaps act like babies (need to be fed), or children (only feed themselves), it’s called laziness, selfishness, and sin.
How long have you been a Christian? Are you feeding yourself yet? Are you feeding others?
If you’ve been following Jesus for a longer period of time and you’re not feeding yourself and others, then it’s time to grow up.
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” 1 Cor 13:11
“Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.” 1 Cor 14:20
“Let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity” Heb 6:1
(Image Credit: shawn dreilinger)
About Josh Christophersen
Josh is a software engineer, church planter, and blogger with a passion for helping people do their life well. He lives in KC with his wife and 7 kids.