Meaningful things take time. This includes turning converts into disciples. Remember Saul’s lame grandson, Mephibosheth, who David provided for? How Mephibosheth became lame is a parable on disciple-making.
(Mephibosheth) . . . was five years old when the tidings came of Saul . . . and his nurse . . . fled . . . as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 4:4).
Mephibosheth’s story gives four principles related to developing healthy disciples.
A caregiver’s haste left Mephibosheth lame.
Unfounded fear was the basis for the nurse’s hurry.
The youngster suffered, not the hasty nurse.
Mephibosheth’s childhood fall limited him for life.
The nurse actually had nothing to fear. Mephibosheth’s father was David’s closest friend. The nurse’s decision was a reaction. Her haste had no good reason. What she did forever harmed the child in her care.
Apply those four principles to caring for spiritual infants. Unfortunately, not all converts come out as well as Mephibosheth. Some die due to the haste of a caregiver.
Hurrying comes in many forms. Rush newcomers along with unrealistic expectations and you will harm them. Of course, there are different sets of expectations. People saved thirty years should be at a different level than someone saved thirty days. In posts over the next while, I will write about what our haste may look like. I’ll also share how we can overcome the tendency to hurry.
Let’s be clear. The messy life of a spiritual baby does not communicate anyone’s position on right living. Just as a baby’s dirty diaper does not say a new mother does not keep a clean house. Stop fearing what others think.
There is a better way. Your church can have a well-reasoned strategy for caring for newcomers. If you carry out such a plan, more spiritual babies will grow to healthy maturity. Few will die or be lame. Developing your plan will be the topic of a subsequent post. Carrying out the plan is another topic.