Children – Greatness in the Kingdom

November 27, 2012 admin

And He said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4

We spent the weekend with our grandchildren (aged 3 and under). Those occasions can succinctly be described as a continuum of squeals, spills, diaper-duty…and profound grandparental enjoyment.

Our daughter describes young family life as “messy, happy, grace-filled”.

I call it “joyful chaos.”

And I’ve come to learn that young children have been programmed by their Creator with 2 character default settings: joy and trust.

As I reflect on the delightful disorder of our brief time together this weekend, I’m reminded of the special attraction the Lord Jesus had for – and with – children. He intentionally used kids to illustrate concepts that I as an adult find difficult to grasp.

The 18th chapter of Matthew’s gospel gives us Jesus’ response to what appears to be a self-centred question by the disciples about greatness. Jesus uses a child as a silent object lesson. The bottom line: prominence in the kingdom is not based on position, accomplishment or even spiritual works, but on humility.

Joe Boot is a Christian writer and apologist (and has an ABK Bible Camp connection). He observes: “A child is cognitively, uniquely placed with a humble heart to be corrected and adjusted.”

And notice Jesus’ “if/then” demand in the verses above, where the desired result is conditional on a prior action: “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”. Notice what Jesus highlights: we need to be willing to change, to become childlike (as opposed to childish), particularly as it relates to humility.

Joe Boot again: “There is something about childhood that makes us adjustable, malleable, teachable and humble”… not to mention authors of joyful chaos!

Takeaway: my prayer for this week: Lord, please cause my life to reflect those childlike qualities that You value, and are necessary for me to be the man You’ve called me to be!