When I was younger, birthdays were times of receiving. I received watches, bicycles, coloring books and more. At landmark birthdays I received the opportunity to drive by myself, vote for myself and even dress myself. Yes, I said “dress myself.” Hey, I was four years old, and it was a big deal.
But as I continue to have birthdays, it’s more sacrificing than receiving. My gifts are smaller, my friends list is smaller, even my cake is smaller…when I get one. Talk about sacrifice! Is this the path of maturity? Is this what growing up is all about? Is THIS what I waited all my life to get to? Being grown-up is not what it’s cracked up to be. Or is it?
As I read the Bible, there was another “old guy” that seemed to feel the same way I do. He had been around so long that he had one name at birth, Abram, then another name later in life, Abraham. He was faced one day with the ultimate sacrifice. In Genesis 22:2 God asked Abraham to take his “only son” and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on a mountain that God was going to show him later. Wait, but why? Wasn’t it God that blessed he and Sarah with Isaac? Didn’t Abraham circumcise Isaac when he was 8-days old, like custom instructed? What is it that God was trying to prove to Abraham…to Sarah…to Isaac…to you and me?
I’ve heard people take the following position with regard to this account in Scripture; God wanted to make sure that Abraham loved and trusted HIM more than the blessing. Maybe…maybe not. But we all must understand THIS as it relates to maturing in the Lord….cultural downsizing prepares us for spiritual upsizing. Let me make myself clear.
Downsizing is not just about getting rid of tangible things; it’s about removing unnecessary things. You know what they are—our public status, our titles, even our perceived importance. When it’s all over, God doesn’t care about cultural reputation that WE maintain. He’s focused on the spiritual relationship that HE maintains by the blood of Jesus and obedience to His Word. Let’s get back to Abraham.
Abraham and Isaac were walking down a path that could lead to cultural embarrassment. But while they were walking in obedience to God’s instructions on one side of the mountain, the blessing was coming up the other side of the mountain. God had already prepared the ram and the bush before Abraham made the journey with Isaac and the wood.
Here, hold this tweet—maturity is not about how big you become. Maturity is about how humble we walk before God. The goal is the “well done” from God.
Yep, my birthday gifts got smaller, but my blessings got bigger. From bicycles, books, and watches to intimate gatherings at my favorite restaurant and the best homemade cake love could buy. I may not like being a “grown-up” but maturity sure is worth it.