Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. [Philippians 3:7-15]
The first word that jumps out at me here is 'Mature'. Because you know, we all want to be the mature ones. Mature means right. Mature means strong. The mature are the role models and leaders who guide the way for those that have not yet caught up. But you know something else?
Mature means wrong. Mature means honest and humble and broken. Mature means succeeding the power that could be claimed or taken to the one that it belongs.
Mature means taking the lower seat when the higher is not for you.
Mature means backing down when others won't back up.
Mature means admitting faults, forgiving hurts and not making excuses for failures on our part or denouncing the failings of others.
It means taking the high road, the narrow path, to strive for doing what is right and not only the acknowledgment that one is right.
The mature will not show offense when forgotten or neglected or when shown a lack of respect.
Mature means giving correction for another's sake and not our own.
Maturity teaches and lifts up those not yet at the same level while not being satisfied with the level it has already attained.
Maturity is a measure of depth gained, not distance traveled. It is the measure of one's character and growth, not the days and years lived.
This week we, the interns and staff at Potter's Field, are cooking for each other by teams displaying meals eaten in our respective countries over the past six months. The team that went to Africa cooked on Monday, Costa Rica cooked Wednesday, and we from El Salvador will be cooking Friday. Today everyone will be participating in a little rice and beans cook-off for fun.
I haven't been very mature in preparing for it. I didn't begin taking it seriously as soon as I should have; I didn't put in as much time as I could have; I didn't include my teammate as much as I should have; I didn't begin preparing as soon as I could have; I didn't communicate well with those who purchase food for the ranch or those who planned this week of cooking to see what was expected of us when I didn't understand.
When push came to shove I didn't solve problems, it could very easily be said I just complained about having a problem. Rather than taking care of things others took care of it for me because I was being immature about my responsibility in preparing a meal, caring more for the other things I needed to get done, or simply wanted to do, than the things I needed to have ready by Tuesday.
The mature apologize and make do with what they have the best they can even if "what they have" comes from past failures and use their time wisely to the maximum of their capacity.
I will be apologizing to a few people for bothering them and making excuses for my behavior and failures in preparing for our meals. I will run full tilt and do the best I can with what I have for these two meals.
Maturity is an action and a choice, not a passive behavior. Maturity sought after will be maturity found.
Written April 19, 2012
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Derek Powers in El Salvador