I chuckled as I watched 7-month-old Michael look around the room. “You’re trying to figure out how to enlarge your territory, aren’t you?” I asked him.
My little grandson had no idea what I meant, of course; but, if he had understood, I’m sure he would have readily agreed with me; for, judging by the gleam in his blue eyes and the grin on his sweet face, he was, indeed, anticipating future climbs on the furniture and selecting colorful objects he wanted to “taste” and taking note of the electrical cords he wanted to tug on.
Actually, he had already enlarged his territory. When I first began babysitting him each weekday while his parents were at work, he was only six weeks old. His territory then was quite limited: arms, beds, and infant seats. But now he has learned to reach for and/or scoot toward what he wants, to sit alone, to pull himself to a standing position so as to reach more things, and to walk (when supported). Soon, very soon, he’ll be grasping more and more things that were previously outside his territory, things he longs to try out, things he wants to examine more closely.
And seemingly in the blink of an eye, he will be playing sports and going to school and learning all sorts of things. Yes, his territory—his world, his abilities, his experiences—will enlarge significantly in the days ahead, which is as it should be.
While we expect children to grow and develop and to expand their horizons, we adults often do not expect the same of ourselves. But are learning and growing and “becoming” supposed to stop whenever we reach a certain age?
Apparently, the father of one photographer I read about doesn’t think so, for he was still urging his son, now an adult, to “Learn to do one more thing.”
That’s good advice, isn’t it? People who lived centuries ago realized that. Take Jabez, for instance. The Bible tells us he was “more distinguished than any of his brothers….He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and extend my lands’” (1 Chronicles 4:9).
Then there was Caleb, who at age 85 said to Joshua, “I’m asking you to give me the hill country that the LORD promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the [giant-like] Anakites living there in great, walled cities. But if the LORD is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the LORD said’” (Joshua 14:10-12).
Imagine that! Age 85 and not only welcoming challenges but asking for them!! Why? Caleb was fully convinced that, with the LORD’s help, he would succeed in obtaining what God had promised him. Apparently, he spent more time thinking about the “possible dream” rather than about the oft-mentioned impossible one.
In order to follow his example, let’s ask God, as hymn-writer Clara Scott did, to “open my eyes…open my ears…open my mouth…open my heart…” to the promises found in God’s word and to all the astonishing potential He has placed within us.
Then, with such increased awareness, let’s first long for all that’s meant for us and then get busy, with God’s help, expanding our territory—regardless of our age.
©2007 by Johnnie Ann Burgess Gaskill, author, photographer, and aspiring artist whose web address is www.jgaskill.com. Scripture quoted is from the New Living Translation.
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