In Matthew 18, Jesus’ disciples are arguing about who among them is the greatest. Finally, they go to Jesus and ask Him to settle their dispute. His sobering response to them is recorded in verse four. After calling a little snot-nosed kid amongst them, He says:
"Whoever humbles Himself as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven."
What a lesson this must have been for these pompous disciples, and what a lesson for all the sons and daughters of Adam. Here they are, arguing about whom among them is the least humble, and Jesus teaches them an unforgettable lesson about what it means to be "great" as a Christian. He calls them, and us, to be like little children.
What are children like? They are helpless; totally dependent upon their caretakers. This makes for a great Christian, doesn’t it? We are to be constantly looking to the Father for help, in every area, rather than relying on our own resources.
Kids are also worry-free, about everything! My kids certainly don’t worry about whether or not the mortgage will get paid this month, or how much of their doctor’s bill our insurance will cover. Children have no need to worry about any of these things, because they have complete trust in their parents, even with their very lives.
Kids are also sincere and genuine; they are completely transparent. I remember one instance when Lanae, our oldest child, was at church flipping through an old scrapbook of church photos with an elderly lady. Lanae was sitting in her lap and they were looking at all the people in this church scrapbook from some event many years ago. As they were flipping through the pages, she came to a picture of this white-haired lady that looked like she already had one foot in the grave. She was slouched in her wheelchair, oxygen tank in her lap, and tubes running from one side of her face to the other. Her tired eyes fit in well with her downtrodden countenance. Lanae looked up at the elderly lady holding her, and then down at the picture, and then up at the lady again, and then down at the picture again. Suddenly, with eyes opening wide and excitement in her voice, as though she had just discovered a hidden treasure never seen before, she turned to the elderly lady holding her and said, "Look! That’s you right there!" What they lack in tact, they more than make up for in sincerity.
The characteristics of these children, Jesus tells His disciples, are what I am interested in. You want to be great in the Kingdom of Heaven? Well then, stop acting so childish and act childlike in your relationship with me, Jesus would say to us.
The desire of our Lord is that we would be utterly helpless before Him, completely trusting in His provision, and totally sincere in our relationships. Too many times we get caught up in silly comparisons with one another, putting one another down, and all the while our Lord is desiring for us to look up at Him. Go before the Lord and ask Him to help you become less childish and more childlike in your attitudes and relationships. In doing so, we are expressing our desire for the Lord to use us in great and powerful ways for the glory of His Kingdom.
Each week this blog will be updated with a word for the week from my current studies.