When I was a young man I was an athlete first, everything else including being a student and a good son came second. Then a helmet to the knee forced me to put away “childish things.” I was forced to mature. I have friends who have had numerous surgeries and can barely walk, who are still “playing.” Their former careers dominating their days. It’s not that I don’t enjoy watching sports, and I’ve played many a round of golf, tennis, and as I mentioned ran long distance for a time. But it was never the same, other things – a wife, kids, a career came first. My boyhood dreams are still a part of who I am, but hardly all I am.
In developing our spiritual life we can learn a lot from young life’s lessons. There comes a time when we must put away “childish things.” God must go to the top of the list with everything else a distant second. We can still have careers, pleasures, and toys, but they must not take precedence or control our lives. A fitting image for spiritual training can be the well-trained athlete who enters a training program to steel the mind, body, and spirit, but the goal is getting closer to God not more toys. The childish toys of adulthood – fame, wealth, and pride need to be replaced with service, humility, and love.