To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (Eccl 3:1). By the Holy Word of God we are instructed, “For when for the time you ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat” (Heb. 5:12). In other, scriptures, we also note the fact that Christians are to grow, are to put away childish things and become men in the faith (1 Cor.13:14 f; 2 Pet 3:18), and thus become an asset to the cause of Christ. In other words, we are to grow up and be able to help others, instead of being dependent upon others for our knowledge. We are to help solve problems that arise, not be a problem or a contributing factor.
After the Corinthians had been Christians for some time, Paul wrote to them saying, “I have fed you with milk, and not with strong meat: for hitherto you were not able to bear it, neither yet now are you able” (1 Cor. 3:2). They were yet “babes in Christ” (v. 1); they just had not grown up, nor made the progress that they should. The time had come that they ought to be teachers, but they were not ready for such work; they had not prepared themselves and thus made it necessary for Paul to write to them as “unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” and not as “unto spiritual”. The fact that they had failed to grow as they should had contributed to the existing weakness and problems in the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 3:1-4). Paul should have been directing others new to the faith with their assistance, instead of having to spoon feed them with milk at such an advance age.
The Lord expects us, after we have been Christians for some time, to be able to help in His work instead of being a hindrance or a problem that necessitates attention and encouragement if we are to remain faithful. Yet, sad as it may be, there are those who have been Christians for many years who still demand attention and effort from others to keep them attending as they should. My brethren, these things ought not so to be! We should make the proper use of our time and opportunities so that we would soon be able to help others, instruct them in the way of truth, and be teachers, preachers, elders and deacons! Whenever you see a congregation who has been in existence for many years, and yet they have not elders and deacons, is a perfect example of a congregation which has not grown properly in the faith.
If you wonder why it is that some who have been Christians only a few years have advanced more than you, and others who have been for many years, it might do well for you to “take stock.” You might well ask yourself such questions as: Have I attended regularly all the services possible? Have I studied Bible daily as I should? Have I really been interested in learning more and being able to do more in the Lord’s work? Do I attend each Lord’s day out of obligation or for show, or do I attend to learn and grow in the faith? One’s attitude toward spiritual things determines the time and effort he will use in them.
Is it “time you, ought to be” teaching, preaching, leading singing, presiding at the Lord’s table, leading prayer, serving as an elder or deacon, or any number of other important works? If so, and you are not, then you need to ask yourself some searching questions. Possibly it is “high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Rom. 13:11). Be one who works, not one who makes work! If all of us “do what we ought” and be what we ought, then the church will grow, souls will be saved, and God will be glorified, and we shall be greatly blessed.