Grace and Truth
by Pastor Jack Hyles
(Chapter 1 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Grace and Truth)
BE A CHILDISH, JUVENILE ADULT
A child is not a complete person. He cannot enjoy many things that maturity will allow him to enjoy. For him many wonderful, enriching experiences yet wait that he cannot enjoy until he reaches adolescence and adulthood.
The adolescent is not a complete person, for there are many rich and satisfying endeavors that can be enjoyed only by adults.
The adult may or may not be a complete person; that choice is up to him.
The child-adolescent-adult is a complete person. This is a person who, when he became an adolescent did not substitute adolescence for childhood, but ADDED adolescence to childhood. Then when adulthood came, he did not substitute adulthood for adolescence but rather added adulthood to adolescence and childhood. He retained his childhood enjoyment and added to it the enjoyments of adolescence. He then retained his childhood and adolescent enjoyments and added to them adult enjoyments. He then became the complete person with a complete set of appetites, delights and fulfillments.
Why riot make a list of all the enjoyments unique to childhood. Have you retained them, or did you trade them for the enjoyments of youth? Everyone enjoys a teenager who, while possessing the maturity of youth, still possesses the excitement, exuberance and warmth of a child. We all know of adults who have added adolescence to childhood and adulthood to adolescence. This may be what charisma really is. There is a bit of little boy in every attractive adult male personality. There is an obvious pleasance or a bit of adolescence in every adult male personality. Likewise the attractive woman has a bit of little girl in her. She also has retained the flavor of adolescence in her mature, adult personality.
In many of our schools the best teaching is done in the lower grades. Such teachers can appeal to a child because they have retained a bit of childhood in their personalities. The same is true with a youth worker. Perhaps a youth worker is one who has kept his youth while becoming an adult. He was not willing to sacrifice youth for maturity and adulthood, but rather chose to retain his youth while adding the maturity of adulthood.
Think for a moment of some people whose presence you enjoy the most. Notice carefully and you will see that these people are childish, juvenile adults. This is why little children enjoy their presence. This is the reason that young people love to be with them and that other childish, juvenile adults enjoy their company. To be sure, such a person may draw criticism from incomplete people. The suave teenager may not like the teenager who has retained a touch of childhood. The drab adult may not enjoy the presence of the childish, juvenile adult. Perhaps the incomplete man will even develop a jealousy for the complete man. This perhaps is prompted by envy and covetousness.
All of us know of a young person who has gone off to college and has come home a different person, much to the dismay and disappointment of his parents. We also know of a young person who has gone off to college to return the same person who is just more mature and able to enjoy more of life. Such people bring delight and satisfaction to their parents. A farmer worked hard to send his son to the state University. While working in the field one day a neighbor asked him if he had noticed any difference in his son since he had been to the university for a fear The farmer replied, "Yep. You ain't never seen so much change in one young'in'. Before he went to the university, when he would plow, he would say to the mule at the end of the row, 'Whoa, Reb. Turn around and giddup.' Now that he has been to the university for a year he says, 'Halt, Rebecca, pivot and proceed.'" (It is the opinion of this author that "the mule walked on.")
The childish, juvenile adult enlarges his potential for service to mankind. He is not a specialist able to work just with children, nor is he a specialist able to work just with teenagers, nor is he limited to working only with adults. He has enough child in him to work with children, enough youth in him to work with young people and enough maturity to work with adults. Fortunate is such a person and fortunate are those privileged to be near him.
I am thinking now of a great preacher whom I found one day playing hopscotch with some children. I think Of another great man of God whom I found One day Playing marbles with some junior boys. Such IL Person makes a better pastor, for he can appeal to all ages. He makes a better parent, for he can have the proper rapport with his children at every stage of development. He will have a richer life, for he will be able to enjoy the company of any age. He will be a better leader, for he will know the heartbeat of each follower. He will be a more desirable person, for all ages will enjoy his presence. He will be more versatile in that his appeal will span all of life. He will never really grow old, for even in his senior years, he will still in some ways be a little boy and a young man.
I think of my mother, who at this writing is 86 years of age; yet every time I talk to her I see the twinkling eye of a child, the mischievousness of childhood, the optimism and expectancy of a teenager, the glamour of a young woman, the endurance of youth and the wisdom of adulthood wrapped up in one personality. This is why she, at the age of 86, attracts little children and teenagers as well as adults. There are people in their forties who are older than Mother. She is a childish, juvenile adult who refused to trade the joys of childhood for the joys of adolescence, or the joys of adolescence for the joys of adulthood. She has retained them all and in so doing has kept her appeal to others and her enjoyment of others regardless of the age.
In 2nd Peter 3:18 we are admonished to grow in grace. The word "grow" could be better translated "increase." It means to keep what you have and add more. It is like a growing tree. While the tree adds branches, it keeps its trunk. While it adds leaves, it keeps its branches. It is like an army which takes ground. It does not give up what it had; it adds new land to the land that already has been conquered. In other words, growing in grace is "adding to," not "substituting for."
1. Do not exchange poverty for riches. The wise person will add riches to poverty. There are some enjoyments that are unique to poverty. How tragic it is when one gives up these enjoyments that are so rich that they cannot be bought with money in order to exchange them for things less valuable which can be bought with money. Such a person becomes poverty stricken because of his riches and trades that which cannot be bought by money for that which can be bought by money. This type of individual can be the poor rich man or the rich poor man.
I think of my good friend, Russell Anderson, from Ypsilanti, Michigan. Though his wealth enables him purchase whatever he would want, his wife Maxine still sews for the children and makes their clothes. She often trades at discount stores where the common person trades. They often raise a garden. In other words, because they were once poor they learned the enjoyments of the poor. Now that they are wealthy they have kept their poverty and have doubled their enjoyment rather than substituted one for another.
2. Do not trade simplicity for profundity. Though every Person should strive to become as profound in profession and field as he possibly can, he should not with the acquiring of profundity discard the pleasures of simplicity. In reality no one can be profound who has not retained his simplicity, for he will be completely unable to transfer his profundity to others. Simplicity is the tool with which profundity is transferred. Simplicity is the conveyer by which profundity is transported. Without simplicity, profundity is a house built upon the sand.
Our Lord was the master at adding profundity to simplicity. He could take the deepest and most profound truths and wrap them with the simplest of terms. The deepest of doctrines were conveyed to us by such stories as a boy running off from home, a lady losing a coin, a lamb getting lost from the flock, a man going out to plow, a farmer sowing in the field, etc.
When one becomes profoundly simple, richly poor, simply complicated, discerningly naive, weakly strong, conservatively aggressive, excitedly serious, unpredictably stable and unknowingly educated, he has arrived at a place to where he can live the rich life of being a childish, juvenile adult.
INDEX | NEXT
More Life Changing Sermons and books by Dr. Jack Hyles:
Do you know for sure that if you died today, you would go to Heaven? You can know!
Click Here to find out how!