That is a question often asked to groups of people. The group could be fellow Christians, family, friends or even business relationships. Logically, one would think that to measure growth it would simply be counting the number of people at the beginning and when the number of people increased that would be growth. Logic does not always apply to people. In fact, rarely does it do so. We all know some families that are very large in numbers but quite dysfunctional in their relationship with each other. Their lives are often filled with competition, judgment, strife, and ultimately pride. There are some small families that are so beautifully woven together in spirit and truth with each other that you can hardly wait to be in their presence again to take in the beauty of the wonderful tapestry of their lives. I would like to think that most of us know at least one family like that, whether from our childhood or adulthood. They are rare but such a drink of water in a dry and thirsty land. So the conclusion is that the mere number of people does not indicate quality of growth, just quantity. That then changes the original question. It changes it from the vague to the specific.
How do you measure the quality or depth of growth? What is the” measuring stick” that we use? Is it the fruit that we can see walked out in their or our daily lives? If we can’t see growth, does it mean it doesn’t exist or that it is just buried under the ground in darkness …waiting for new life to spring forth out of its former shell/old life? I think that only saturation with the water of God’s word, the life giving light of the sun/son and time will bring life and show growth. Just as plants grow at different rates, so do people. God "the farmer" does whatever is necessary to ensure that growth. It is certainly not always pleasant. Sometimes the farmer has to use drastic and often very painful lessons for growth to continue. The pain is caused in the dying process- dying to self, selfish ways, the need for justice, even dying to the need or feelings of self preservation. Only from that death can life return.
And then soon…the evidence of life...growth returns. Evidence of growth can manifest itself by someone reaching out even after they have been wounded. Someone sharing scripture (the watering of God’s word) and teaching you about what breaking bread together is truly about. Someone choosing to live life to the fullest with their Holy Spirit convictions intact. Someone choosing to stay and fix what has been broken in the relationship, whether with spouse, friends or family. Someone choosing forgiveness over justice. Let us not forget, let me not forget that all of this is possible because Christ did it first. He chose the very painful road of death so that we could even have the possibility of life. The evidence of true life...growth...can only happen and be seen if we are totally surrendered to His will for our lives. Who knows what the best measure of growth is anyway, the seed or the farmer?