When we look at people, it is easy to judge them according to a cookie-cutter standard–a standard we like to think is universal, but often defined by no one but ourselves. This frequently leads to disappointment and frustration.
“We can do nothing but stimulate the transformation whereby the seed that is already there may become the tree that is promised…… There need be no fear of failure here, for evaluation measures progress toward becoming–not arrival.”
Charles Van Engen, God’s Missionary People: Rethinking the Purpose of the Local Church, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991), 190-1.
With an eschatological way of looking at people, we can start seeing people as seeds and saplings constantly morphing into their true potential. We try to:
- Discern their God-given potential (i.e. what kind of seed)
- Envision the kind of person they can be (i.e. what kind of tree)
- Measure their progress along their own trajectory in life (i.e. understand the botany)
- Offer as much support as we can to help that person grow in their own unique way (i.e. choose the right kind and amount of fertilizer).
How you see people? Cookies or plants?