A passage of Scripture that has defined Jesus in a lot of ways and long made people think about what it means to be a Christ-follower is Matthew 18:1-4: “At the time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child and had him stand among them. 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.”
But what does Jesus desire from our lives when he asks us to become like little children? In a time when children were disregarded by the wisemen of society, Jesus turned the tables and told us that unless we shift the course of our lives and grow to be like children, He wants no part of us.
My daughter, in all her wisdom as an infant, has taught me more about this startling truth than any preacher doing his thing on Sunday morning. When life becomes too much for her to handle, Eden cries. She yells out for help. Although she can’t use words to express her frustration, discomfort or anger, she knows when she raises her voice, she is answered.
Where, in the course of growing up, do we lose the sense of dependence? When does it suddenly become okay to try to handle life on our own? We, as Christ-followers, must remember that we don’t have to live by our own might. Life is hard. The words of King David must become ours: “In my distress I called out to the Lord; I cried to my God for help” (Psalm 18:6).
Jesus’ teachings regarding little children were revolutionary in the time and culture in which He walked the land. But Jesus was merely revealing to us the truth about ourselves. He understood that we have grown up too fast. We have sacrificed a child like faith for maturity.
Eden, in her nine months of life, has taught me the beauty of being a child. She is reminding me of Jesus desire for children of the King to cry out to our Father, to climb into His open arms into embrace innocence in a scary world.
Father, I’m so stubborn. I’m always trying to fix my own problems and be self-sufficient, but I just make things worse. Come in and be my Father, hold me and carry my worries. You are bigger.