August 28, 2015
I Corinthians 3:1-4
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
A Toddler is a young child who is learning to walk, having mastered some balance on two feet, he or she still walks with short and uncertain steps. The time range of being a Toddler is between one and three years old. By age two (right in the middle of the Toddler years) motor skills have developed to where a two-year-old can walk and run, climb and descend stairs, understand simple commands and have command of about a 350 word vocabulary. But what I find interesting is the Toddler’s Creed, found in Burton L. White’s book, Raising a Happy, Unspoiled Child.
If I want it, it’s mine.
If I give it to you and change my mind later, it’s mine.
If I can take it away from you, it’s mine.
If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
If it’s mine it will never belong to anyone else, no matter what.
If we are building something together, all the pieces are mine.
If it looks like mine, it’s mine.
I’m sure you notice a recurring theme in the Toddler’s Creed! “Mine, mine, mine!”
Paul had to deal with the Toddler’s Creed when he ministered to the Corinthian Christians. Here is what he wrote in I Corinthians 3:1 through 4:
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people, but as to
carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, and not with solid
food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you
are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy,
strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal, and behaving like
mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am
of Apollos,” are you not carnal?
Two chapters earlier, in I Corinthians 1:12, the apostle adds two more to the list: “…each of you says, ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas [Peter],’ or ‘I am of Christ.’ ”
Do you see the Toddler’s Creed in play here? “Paul is mine!” one might say. Another, “Apollos is mine!” Still another, “Peter is mine!” And the fourth tries to trump them all – “Well, Christ is mine!” “Mine, mine, mine!”
I well remember a Trustees’ meeting in a church I pastored years ago. The Trustees were in charge of the physical facilities of the church, including how the money was spent. The problem with too many Trustee boards is that they think and plan like the money is under their control, not God’s; and like it is coming out of their own pockets! We were discussing a major item to expand the church’s ministry, and it would cost a few hundred dollars. One trustee had to leave the meeting early. Getting up and heading for the door, he said to the others (almost as a warning!), “Well, I don’t know how you guys are going to vote, but this is what I want! ” What broke my heart about that meeting – and many others like it – there was little consideration (and no prayer) to discern “What does God want?”
I go back to an early blog I wrote entitles The Most Important Prayer A Christian Can Pray (April 28, 2013 – Read it!) This prayer is what Jesus prayed in the garden before He laid down His life on the cross – Luke 22:42: “…nevertheless not my will, but Yours, be done.” This prayer would do a lot to negate the Toddler’s Creed!
Toddlers are basically selfish! The world revolves around them (in their immature minds), and getting their demands met! Are you a toddler in your walk with the Lord Jesus? If you are, you are still on milk and basic food, not solid food – that is, the deep things of God’s Word!
What is Paul’ solution to growing up and leaving behind the Toddler’s Creed? It is found in Ephesians 4:11 through 15:
And He Himself [Christ] gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some
evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints
for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all
come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a
perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we
no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind
of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they
lie in wait to deceive, but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all
things into Him who is the head – Christ….
Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers – the Biblical picture of each one of these is a called-by-God person whose life and ministry are centered on the Word of God! This is the key to growing up from Toddler to maturity – reading, studying, meditating upon, mastering God’s Word, the Bible. Fill your life with His Word, and obey it!