I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren't ready for anything stronger. And you still aren't ready - 1 Corinthians 3:2 NLT
My youngest son Connor has a healthy appetite and has from birth. He is a grandmother's delight with his willingness to be spoiled by a good meal. I wish that my mother (who was a great cook) was alive to spoil him with her awesome meals. Even though Connor had a great appetite from birth, it would have been unwise to provide him with a home cooked meal as an infant. To feed him something other than the formula that he had drank as a baby would have been a recipe for disaster. Since his system was not developed enough, he would not have been able to digest it and it would have caused him harm.
Although it seems irrational to feed an infant adult food, there are times that I do the equivalent when it comes to interacting with family and friends. I have been guilty of expecting my sons to exhibit the behavior of adults even though they are still young. I will judge their behavior and actions in the same manner that I may do with my adult friends. By doing this, I have in essence been giving them adult food instead on the milk that they need at this stage of their life. By me doing so, I am harming their growth and development. My brothers, are you guilty of doing the same with others in your life?
Paul, in his letter to the Church at Corinth talked about how they should treat the new converts to Christianity. He instructed them to give them "spiritual milk", or the basics of the faith. Like an infant, their current condition required this type of nourishment. As the converts progressed in their faith, they could them provide them with meat, or more advanced teaching as they were ready to accept it. As leaders, whether within our family or the church, we should be careful to know our audience and provide them the teaching that coincides with their level of maturity. Examine whether or not our training is consistent with our students level of development. A great teacher does not necessarily teach what he himself knows, but what is suitable to his hearers. This is the foundation of establishing an environment where learning and growth can and will take place. Let's resolve to today to start monitoring the needs of the people that we are responsible for leading that are within our circle of influence and tailor our teaching and training to them. That way, we can ensure that they will receive the proper growth and development needed.
Ken Sadler is a leader of Men's Ministry at a megachurch and has a heart and passion for helping men become the best they can be.