Playing In The Ditch


Are you fond of your childhood memories? Maybe not all of them, but possibly a few?

Ever play in the street? In our neighborhood, when I was 8 or 9, we’d play baseball and kickball right smack dab in the middle of Jefferson Avenue. We’d move to one side or the other when cars drove by, but that didn’t happen too often.

When we’d travel to Burlington Junction, Missouri to visit relatives, my older brother and I would play on the road and in the ditches. Burlington Junction is a little town of 500 people, located in the vicinity of Maryville, Missouri. Maryville is home for the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats, in case you’re interested.

My brother and I would play in the ditches, looking for pop bottles. We didn’t want them for their monetary value; we wanted to smash them! We’d line them up next to the ditch and throw rocks at them. SMASH! We’d laugh, punch each other in the arm, and look for more bottles. Beer bottles worked even better. I think the glass wasn’t as thick. If we couldn’t find bottles, we still had targets handy. On top of each telephone pole were a number of glass insulators. That is, they were there until we knocked them off.

Mom and Dad always wondered why we were so tired after playing around town.

Yep, I love to think about those fun times in my life. Smashing things, getting dirty, without a care in the world. My brother and I could talk about anything and everything, and still be friends afterwards. When we did things grownups didn’t approve of, we covered for each other. You know, things like smashing the windows of an old, abandoned house. There was a beauty just across the street from our grandparents house. I thought it was good exercise and training for my arm (in case I wanted to be another Johnny Unitas). Picking up a rock weighing about the same as a football, I’d try and heave that thing 35-40 yards, and hit a target about the size of a window. SMASH!

Mission accomplished, exercise over.

It was fun being a kid. But, like all of us, I had to grow up and start acting like a responsible adult.

The same is true as a Christian.

Baby Christians do things, say things, and play in places grownups don’t; or shouldn’t. Grownups tolerate the antics of children, but expect them to eventually mature. So does God the Father.

Maybe it’s just me, but I seem to have noticed a lot of Christians who are old enough to be adult believers, still playing in the ditches and looking for things to smash. Maybe they enjoy smashing a person’s hopes, “You can’t do that. God won’t answer that stupid request.” Perhaps they enjoying throwing rocks at objects about the size of a window. “How can you believe something like that? When’s the last time you read your bible, anyway?” SMASH! Someone’s confidence and desire to study just got shattered.

Grownups have a lot more strength than an eight year old. They have the ability and strength to help or harm a lot more than someone who’s still just a little boy.

Ditches are great places to play, but lousy places to live.

How do people wind up in ditches? Usually by veering to one side of a road or the other. The road, spiritually, represents the way of truth. On one side of the road is the ditch of unbelief; no one believes anything. On the other side is the ditch of “I’m always right, I know what I’m talking about.” The ditch of self-centeredness and pride.

Both ditches reveal the immaturity of those who play there.

The Lord wants us to walk His Highway of Holiness and stay out of the ditches.

Yes sir, I think it’s time we grew up.

“I have a lot more to say about this, but it is hard to get it across to you since you’ve picked up this bad habit of not listening. By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one – baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong.” (Hebrews 5:11 MSG)

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV)

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