“Mama, What’s it like to be a grown-up?” Button and Siah asked.
A bunch of thoughts came to mind quickly, but I realized that the actual question was, “what is the difference between a child and a grown-up?” I saw that in their perception, grown-ups get to do whatever they want. Being a grown-up is so much better than being a kid. Because they didn’t understand what it really entails.
So I started with the positives – “when you’re a grown-up you get to make the rules, when you’re a grown-up you get to watch tv late, and when you are a grown-up you get to make money and spend it on whatever you want!
“But what really makes you a grown-up is the amount of responsibility you take for others. You see, as you go through childhood, you will increasingly become responsible for yourself. By the time you leave this house, you will be responsible for paying your own bills, doing your own laundry, figuring out what you’re going to eat, and staying healthy.
“As you get older, you will begin to be responsible for other people. You will get married, you will have kids. You’ll have to help pay their bills, do their laundry, figure out what they are going to eat, and keep them healthy.
“And then, if you really want to serve Jesus by loving people, you start taking responsibility for them, too. Like what we do for the people in church. We serve them, help them, counsel them through life situations, and give them spiritual truths every Sunday. We realized someone needs to help these people, and daddy and I decided to take responsibility for that.
“So you see, it looks like grown-ups can do whatever they want. But their freedom is limited by their responsibility for others.
“For example, I make a lot of money at work, right? So I can spend that money on whatever I want, right? But when I’m responsible for you guys, what do I spend my money on? Most of the money goes towards paying for a place to live and paying our bills.
“Or it might look like I can do whatever I want with my time. But I spend most of my time with daddy, you guys, and taking care of the people in church.
“Being a grown-up is truly fantastic, but not for the reasons you think. It’s not because I get to do whatever I want and have complete freedom with no rules. It’s because I get the privilege and honor of getting to take care of other people.”
The kids understood it, but I think they were a little bit surprised to learn that being a grown-up wasn’t what they thought it was.
As I reflected on our conversation, it occurred to me that what is true about grown-ups is true about discipling. Grown-up Christians take responsibility for others. That’s the main thing that sets them apart from non-grown-up Christians. Put another way, grown-up Christians are in the business of making disciples.