As a baby develops, every growth milestone is measured and marked. Height and weight are a part of this of course – but so are other developmental cues such as their first smile, their first word, and when took their first step. Mom and dad, grandparents, aunts and uncles and more, commemorate and celebrate the child’s progress to maturity.
Over time, careful attention to one’s development begins to wade. Celebrations are reserved for “special” events – not daily progress. No longer is each step towards growth noted for posterity.
However, in our relationships we should continue to celebrate growth, albeit of a different kind. We should be celebrating our loved one’s progress in maturity as it pertains to their relationship with God. Perhaps this is a more difficult kind of growth to measure – there are no yardsticks or scales that let us easily surmise how much development has occurred. However, its difficulty does not eschew its importance. Just like new parents take delight in every milestone that their little one reaches, so should we take pleasure in in the spiritual development of those we love.
We know how to do this, even if we don’t do it often. After all, there are many things that we celebrate – achievements and awards, promotions and progress. Our lack of acknowledging spiritual progress isn’t because we are unaccustomed to taking pleasure in another’s accomplishments but because we haven’t made it a practice to pay attention to it. Instead of celebrating lesser things with unbridled enthusiasm, we would do well to find our greatest pleasure in our loved one’s growth in their relationship with God. This should be celebrated and acknowledged with as much gusto as any other “accomplishment.” And this should be the focus of our greatest encouragement as well.