“When you come, bring…my scrolls.” 2Ti 4:13 NIV
In prison with no possibility of release, and facing the certainty of death on the chopping block, Paul asked Timothy to bring his books. Why? Because he wanted to keep growing. The truth is: (1) When you finish growing, you’re finished. When the poet Longfellow was old an admirer asked him how he was able to keep writing so beautifully. Pointing to a nearby apple tree he replied, “That tree is very old, but I never saw prettier blossoms. The tree grows a little new wood every year, and out of that new wood those blossoms come. So I try to grow a little each year.” (2) Growth doesn’t come easy. It will stretch you. It will challenge you to rethink assumptions you’ve always believed to be right. Indeed, it can cost you friends and money. But when you’re committed to growth you cannot settle for ignorance. (3) Growth is your responsibility. When you were a child your parents were responsible for your growth, but now you are. The poet Robert Browning wrote, “Why stay we on earth except to grow?” Yet few dedicate themselves to the process. That’s because growth requires change, and we’re uncomfortable with the things change brings. Gail Sheehy said, “If we don’t change we won’t grow, and if we don’t grow we’re not really living. Growth demands the temporary surrender of security. It means giving up familiar but limiting patterns, safe but unrewarding work, values no longer believed in, relationships that have lost their meaning. Taking a new step is what we fear most, yet our real fear should be the opposite.” Can you think of anything worse than a life devoid of growth?