I love children! Their innocence, trust and vulnerability are all endearing characteristics. When Jesus wanted to teach his disciples about humility and His kingdom, he called a little child and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” There is something in a child that teaches us about the kingdom of God. Jesus never implied that his disciples should be childish, rather He was exhorting them to ‘change’ and become childlike.
Here are three things I think children can teach us:
THEY HAVE A CAPACITY TO TRUST
I love it when my grandchildren throw themselves into my arms knowing that I will be there to catch them. They trust me! Jesus places a child in the midst of his followers to show them what trust looks like. I can see the picture in my mind. Jesus beckons the little child to come to Him. Shyly the little one walks up to Him, looks lovingly into His eyes knowing that he/she will be perfectly safe with Him. Simple childlike trust! To understand the kingdom of heaven is to understand the simplicity of this type of faith. It is a certain knowledge that your God is there for you.
THEY HAVE A CAPACITY TO FORGIVE
Sometimes my grandchildren have a squabble - their mom will rush into the room and say, “What is going on?” It takes a bit of time to get to the bottom of the story, but eventually she says to the offender, “Say sorry and hug each other.” The offending party says, “Sorry” the offended says, “ I forgive you,” And off they go and play as if nothing ever happened. I have always marveled at a child’s capacity to forgive and to forget. Jesus calls us to this kind of child-likeness because central to the life of the kingdom is forgiveness.
THEY HAVE A CAPACITY FOR ADVENTURE
Three year old children don’t wake up and say, “Mom, leave me in bed, I am lying here contemplating the effects of global warming!” No, they jump out of bed and are ready for the first adventure of the day.
I have an inkling that the kingdom of heaven is like that – it is an adventure. If you are bored, I would say that something is wrong. Jesus never intended for our lives to be monotonous, He wanted them to be full of joy and adventure.
Children can teach us so much about the kingdom of heaven. I want to learn from them. I hope you do! I pray that your capacity to trust and forgive will grow. But above all, my prayer is that your life would be one incredible adventure. Enjoy today!
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,