Our theme for this month: “You Gotta Keep Dancing”
Our Bible verse for today: “In fact, when we were with you, this is what we commanded you: “If anyone isn’t willing to work, he should not eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Don’t slit the cocoon”
In yesterday’s devotional I told you the story of the little boy who slit the cocoon of a caterpillar which was in the process of becoming a butterfly. The boy thought he was helping. His intent was to make it faster and easier for the butterfly to emerge from the cocoon. But in fact the struggle of emerging from the cocoon was an important part of the transformation process and when the struggle was cut short, the transformation was not completed and the caterpillar never became the thing of beauty God intended for it to be. Instead it was stunted and disfigured. It lived a sad short life and then fell over dead.
I received an interesting response to that devotional from a doctor who lives in another town. He said that he can’t count the number of times he has seen parents do that very thing to their children. Rather than letting the child struggle and learn, the over-indulgent parent interferes, believing they are “helping”, when in fact they are short-circuiting the process of growth and transformation that child needs to go through in order to become a fully functioning independent adult.
This is how you end up with a thirty-two year old drug-addicted man still living with, and living off of, his mother. He’s not a man he’s a man-child. Likewise, that eight year old pampered princess with the helicopter mommy who is always hovering nearby, ends up becoming a twenty-eight year old pampered princess, a woman-child, who still depends on mommy to do most things for her. They never became fully functioning independent adults because they didn’t have to.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:10 the Apostle Paul was teaching a Biblical principle about personal responsibility. In that case he used work and food as his example, but the principle applies to all of life. In this case there were Christians in the city of Thessalonica who were able to work but who chose not to. Instead they relied on the kindness and charity of others. Paul’s point was that the rest of the Christian community was not to enable that irresponsible behavior. Instead they should allow the non-workers to go hungry because if they got hungry enough, they would go get a job so they could earn some money and buy their own food.
The theme of “You Gotta Keep Dancing” implies personal responsibility along with maximum effort and perseverance. You don’t learn and grow and become stronger by being pampered. The trials of life are intended by God to make us strong and to help us grow.
I encourage you to not look for artificial short-cuts in your own life. Do the hard work to overcome your challenges. And don’t create artificial short-cuts in the lives of others. There’s a fine line between helping and enabling. Don’t slit the cocoon.