Learn to Walk before You Run
The ground shook as the drivers revved their mighty engines in preparation for the quarter-mile sprint. The two race cars, standing side by side, will be pushed near their breaking point to obtain the best time. Both drivers ready themselves for the massive acceleration that will pin them to their seats.
The starting flag drops and the drivers engage their engines. One car bolts out with a thundering roar. The other jerks forward 30 yards and stalls. The driver flushes with embarrassment as the realization sets in; he started the race in third gear.
Everything in life has a natural progression; you start out simply and slowly, gradually working your way up to something more advanced. This principle applies in Christian service as well. Spiritually, you must learn to walk before you try to run. If you run before you are ready, you will end up just like our race car driver; stalled and humiliated. Not only would this be a major embarrassment for you, but an area to be ridiculed by unbelievers.
In Luke 14:28-32, Jesus stressed the dangers of rushing into a Christian service unprepared. The believer must first count the cost to see if he is willing and able to pay the price. Jesus illustrated this with the story of a man who started to build a house but soon discovered he did not have enough money to complete it. As a result, all those around him mocked him. As Christian workers, we must carefully evaluate our preparation and maturity to determine how fast we should "run" spiritually.
In 1 Timothy 3:6, Paul explicitly warns us about putting a novice (new Christian) in a position of leadership. New Christians do not have the maturity or stability to handle the pressures and temptations of leadership. A novice in such a position can easily swell up with pride due to his lack of spiritual stability.
Maple trees demonstrate the stability brought on by slow consistent growth. Soft maples grow quickly. Yet, because of the rapid growth they are more prone to cracking. (My car experienced this after an ice storm.) Hard maples, on the other hand, grow slowly. This slow consistent growth produces a solid tree that can withstand most storms. Spiritual and emotional stability usually is a result of slow consistent growth. Do not expect to achieve 15 years of spiritual growth in three months. Likewise, do not allow yourself to be put into a position of spiritual service that requires spiritual maturity beyond your present capacities.
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