Pablo Casals was a Spanish composer, conductor and cellist. He was regarded by many as the greatest cellist of all time.
In the final years of his life, a young reporter asked him, “Mr. Casals, you are 95 yrs old and the greatest cellist that ever lived. Why do you still practice 6 hours a day?”
Mr. Casals replied, “Because I think I’m making progress.”
It reminds me of Homer Hailey, one of my Bible professors at Florida College. At an age when many people are completing retirement, Brother Hailey was reading, researching, writing, and still preaching and teaching. I heard him remark more than once, “Boys, I’m still a student.”
The attitude of Mr. Casals and bro. Hailey should be the attitude of disciples today. Both relate to the issue of growth. Our word of the week is “grow.”
The Bible commands, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). In fact, we should desire to grow just like a little baby desires to be fed when hungry. Peter put it this way, “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Pet 2:2)
If we are going to grow spiritually, we must understand some fundamental principles of growth.
(1) It takes time to grow. It is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. This is true of babies. My grandsons, Roy and Miles are just a month old. But through the coming days, weeks, and months of nourishment, we anticipate seeing their physical growth. The same is true spiritually. The Hebrew writer related their growth, or the lack thereof, to the issue of time. (Heb 5:12).
(2) We will only grow if we choose to grow. Growth demands intentionality. George Eliot was right when he wrote, “The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.” Just like Pablo Casals chose to practice, we must choose to grow spiritually. It doesn’t happen accidentally.
In his commentary on 2 Peter, C. D. Hamilton made this observation regarding the word “grow” in 2 Peter 3:18. “The resolve to continue growing must come from the will of the individual Christian. It will not simply happen by accident. Through study and application of the will of God, one can grow but these conditions have to be present for the growth to increase.”
(3) To grow is to change! Unfortunately, many people resist change and therefore do not grow. One sage quipped, “The only constant in life is change!” Since our lives are filled with change, accept it. Embrace it. And use it to your advantage. Believe YOU can change. You can grow. You can be a better you.
Christian commitment brings changes. A change in relationships. Attitudes. Habits. Lifestyle. Don’t buy into the excuse, “that’s just the way I am.” If you do, you will never change. You will fail to grow.
(4) To grow you must be teachable. The late basketball, great basketball coach, John Wooden used to say, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that really counts!”
A person won’t grow, as long as they think they’ve arrived and already know it all! To grow, we must continue to be learners. Students. Disciples. Our minds must be open and our hearts receptive, if we are to learn and grow.
A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at her local grocery store but was frustrated that she couldn’t find one big enough for her family. As a stock boy walked by she asked, “Do these turkeys get any bigger?”
The stock boy seriously replied, “No ma’am, they’re dead.”
You can’t grow if you’re dead in sin! In Christ, you can be made alive and grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to reach your God-given potential.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman