When was the last time someone said to you, “You’re not a kid anymore?”
Putting the best construction on your development to mature adulthood, I’m thinking that last time someone said to you, “You’re not a kid anymore,” was when you were a kid.
Let’s say at four or five years old you were stubborn about learning to tie your own shoes, and your mom, who was getting the feeling that she was enabling you with her tying of your shoes, said, “We’ve been through this shoe tying business a thousand times. You need to start tying your own shoes. You’re not a kid anymore.”
Well, when you did start tying your own shoes as a late bloomer, you were still a kid, but just not a little kid anymore.
Or, let’s say you are sixteen and still expecting your mom to be doing your laundry.
Your mom comes into your room and is picking up your socks that have been thrown all over the room, and she says, “Hey, how about this idea? You can start doing your own laundry. You’re not a kid anymore.”
I know my mom is watching this, so I have to embarrassingly admit that actually happened when I was about seventeen.
I was a real late bloomer when it came to doing my own laundry.
Since the 1940’s, it has been noticed that the time of children moving into the full responsibilities of adulthood is getting more delayed.
Not to make excuses for not growing up, but in these days, rents are high, and school loans are through the roof.
To say, it’s quite difficult to make it all balance out on today’s starting wages, so many “kids” in their twenties and thirties are living in their parents’ basements .
Universities are teaching courses on how to handle the “big” responsibilities of adulthood like how to make a budget and to keep to a savings plan.
If a guy is in his thirties, and he is hitting his mom and dad up for gas and pizza money, maybe, they need to say, “Saying this is probably been long over due, but you know you are not a kid anymore.”
To be sure, growing up is tough with so many life lessons to learn, but at some point, sooner or later, we grow up.
If you were one who tried kicking the can of growing up down the road, at some point, you realized that you had to pick the can up and start taking the responsibilities of adulthood quite seriously.
The Old Testament Reading tells us about the beginning of Jeremiah’s ministry.
We think Jeremiah is in his teen years when God tells him he has some work to do.
Jeremiah says that he is so young, and God responds basically by saying that he is not a kid anymore.
At this early age, God was making Jeremiah a prophet.
God’s plans were for Jeremiah to go to the nations and speak the prophecies that He had for the people.
These prophesies were only meant to benefit the people. But, the people were hard headed and would reject those prophesies.
This rejection would fall upon Jeremiah, and he would suffer as a prophet. Although God promised that He would look out for Jeremiah, some of Jeremiah’s times were tough like when he got thrown into a well.
We can begin to understand why Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet.
Although as an adult did you ever have that hard situation that made you wish you were a kid again with those carefree days of playing all day?
Jeremiah’s times were so hard as a prophet that he wished he was never born.
With no doubt, adulthood can be tough with all of its responsibilities. We play many roles in life as parents and workers. In any day, we are going in all directions trying to get things done. Not that the world would fall apart if we didn’t do our work, but a lot depends on us doing all that we have to do.
With the way that I started out this sermon, it seems that it could be about living as responsible adults, but that it would be like preaching to the choir. You know very well how to mange life, and you are all doing well taking on your responsibilities. I’m sure you take them quite seriously.
I’m thinking you might know a young person who needs a sermon on how to become an adult, but we are not here today for that, maybe some other time.
When St Paul was writing to the church in Corinth, he knew that they were not acting like complete people of God. They were not at all serious about how they were living.
He wrote in the beginning of the letter, “But I, brothers, could not address you as
spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not
solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh.”
This sermon could be about living spiritual lives. As we know we are all sinners, I don’t think we are like the Corinthians who had a lot to learn about spiritual living. When it comes to leading a God pleasing life, they were like a baby on a bottle.
We know that we are sinners, but we are eating solid food as we are living with the best of intentions to do what we know to be right.
If we are reading the Scriptures carefully, we will be seeing how God’s message to Jeremiah is very similar to when God was telling Moses that he would be leading the Nation of Israel out of Egypt.
There are a lot of similarities, except the ages. Moses was not a kid but was about forty years old.
So, God’s message to Jeremiah and to Moses is for the young and old.
Since we have heard these messages like we have heard today in the Old Testament Reading, this message is for us in our times and places.
God still wants His Word that is meant to benefit people to go out to all people, and we are the ones to do it in our times and places.
As much as people need God’s Word and as much as people would benefit from what is in God’s Word, many people will reject God’s Word.
People are as hard headed today as they were back in Moses and Jeremiah’s day.
We welcome people of all ages to worship, for we are all God’s children.
At any age, we see God as our Father.
But, we know that worship is not kid’s stuff.
We come here to confess our sins, and hear God’s Words of forgiveness in Christ.
We take confession and absolution quite seriously as it’s central to our faith.
If we remember from our confirmation days, there were questions and answers about how we are to know that we are sinners, but also we are to be knowing how we are forgiven by what Jesus has for us by his death and resurrection.
After those questions and answers in the catechism, there is a comment that reminds us of how serious all of this is. It says, “These questions and answers are no child’s play.”
By God’s grace in Christ, we are forgiven of every sin, and in that forgiveness, we are free to live a new life.
Again, we take that message quite seriously.
This is the message for us and for the world. This is the message that God wants all to hear. This is the message that we are to share with others.
God takes this message that is to go out to the world quite seriously, for He wants all to have salvation.
When we share this message, some will love us for it, and others will hate us for it.
I’m not sure that those who reject the message will be like Pharaoh who went after Moses and the Nation of Israel with an army of soldiers on chariots or like those who had thrown Jeremiah down a well.
But, we do live in world that is a mess with some horrific things happening because of an overall disobedience to God’s good will.
We are the ones to bring God’s Word of His will that is a benefit to all people, and of His mercy and grace in Christ that brings salvation to all people.
This message for us to go out into the world to is hard to do. Bringing this message to the world is not child’s play, and it’s far from kid’s stuff.
This bringing of God’s Word to the world is for us, mature people of faith.
Jeremiah had the hardest times as a prophet. He met more hard times than good times telling people of his time and place God’s Word.
But, we have to notice what God said to Jeremiah. We have to see what God was going to be doing for Jeremiah.
At his young age, Jeremiah was showing some doubt and fear with his new job as a prophet, but God said, “Have no fear because of them: for I am with you, to keep you safe, says the Lord.”
With no doubt, Jeremiah would be facing opposition, but God said this about his enemies, “They will be fighting against you, but they will not overcome you: for I am with you, says the Lord, to give you salvation.”
And here is what was most important to Jeremiah and to us here today, “See, I have put my words in your mouth.”
Like Moses, Jeremiah, all of the prophets of old, the first disciples, St. Paul, those beginning the early church under harsh persecution, Martin Luther, and all those who have suffered for the faith, this is not child’s play, and it’s far from kid’s stuff.
It’s too easily and sadly seen how the world is so far from God’s Word.
Every person whom you meet needs to know the will of God that will only benefit them and the love of God in Christ Jesus.
That person needs to know and have what you and I know and have by faith.
Here at St Philip, we have a school, so it’s obviously a place for kids, and we have a lot of fun here as we learn.
But, I think you know what I mean that when it comes to the work we have to do here in this time and place that we are not going about it as kids.
We do the work here of Word and Sacrament ministry quite seriously because God for the benefit of the world that He loves so much in Christ takes it quite seriously.