Being a baseball coach over the past few years has been a great learning experience. I have found many of the phrases and baseball terms that I take for granted were unknown to five, six and seven year old children. I would say something like, “Take a knee,” and they would just look at me. Then I would explain and they would gather around on one knee. We had to learn where each base was located, and to make sure we ran to them in the proper order. Sure many of the mistakes made in the learning process made for cute home videos, but not great baseball play.
From this experience I learned quite a bit about assuming. I discovered that there were many things that I had known for years that I took for granted. I forgot that I only knew them because someone taught me along the way. I also learned how joy changes at different stages in life. Now, that I cannot play Little League anymore, I find my joy in teaching kids the rules and flow of the game. When a player does well or the team plays to their potential I find satisfaction in knowing that I have played some part in the learning process for them. There is great joy in the transferring of knowledge that has been passed down to me.
Our faith is similar. There are many people who have been Christians for a long period of time. The Christian life, with its supposed routines and terminology, has become old hat for them. They take for granted that everyone else should know what to do within the life of a local church. Once this stage is reached there is a tendency for the faith to become stale because the individual has what they believe is a sufficient working knowledge.
We need to be nudged, though, to carefully avoid reaching this place in life. Christians must remember that there are many who do not have an accurate understanding of Jesus Christ and will not gain this understanding unless it is explained to them. Our joy should not be in the security of our own salvation alone, but in the sharing and explanation of our faith with others. In addition, our personal love and worship for Jesus Christ must not become stale with complacency. How could we ever know all there is to know about an infinite Creator? We must be active in maintaining that childlike curiosity and pursuit of learning about God. An increase in understanding is not enough, though, we must do the work of enriching our love for Christ.
Yet, be humbled to know that Christians do none of these things alone. It is God who has directed our understanding. He is the one that has shown patience to us. He is the one that has supplied teachers to us along the way to provide the explanations we need. He is the one that has loved us first. As we grow in an understanding and love of Jesus Christ we are called to share our joy with others because it has been shared with us.
Where are you in this process? Are you bored? Do you need to fan the flame of love and curiosity again in your faith? Have you experienced the joy of sharing your knowledge of Christ with someone lately? Please be careful to avoid making assumptions or drifting to the point of becoming stale.