Common thought is that age brings wisdom and maturity. It just seems natural that as you experience life you grow as a person. Overall it is true. I am grateful for my elders that have taught me so much. That said, age does not guarantee wisdom and maturity. There are many men and women advanced in years who do not display wisdom and maturity in their lives.
I am learning that age does not define the person but instead actions define them. It is possible to be wise as a young man and also as an older man. In the same way it is possible to be either a young fool or an old fool. Who you are is not defined by the years you have lived.
I came across a definition of maturity that made me stop and think today. It said maturity is one’s ability to live for others.
Think about it. When we are born we are born selfish and self serving. The first words out of a kid’s mouth are all about what they want. As we grow older and go through the major experiences of life we learn to be less selfish and more selfless. When you go to school you learn to play with others. When you get married you learn to live for your wife. When you have kids you learn to live for your kids. Perhaps maturity is coming to understand that the world is not about you but instead about others.
It is a biblical concept. When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment, he summarized the law in two phrases. 1. Love God 2. Love Others. As God works in your life he leads you away from living for yourself to living for Him and others.
I think we have a terrible addiction to ourselves. We want our way, our stuff, and our lives. God’s call for each of us is to maturity. We are called to His way, being stewards of His stuff, living our lives for Him. Ultimately this will be seen as we live to serve others, give what God has given us away, and live our lives selflessly.