A curious phenomenon is that as we grow older time seems to speed up. I remember distinctly that events such as my birthday, Christmas, summer break, and school days seemed to drag on forever.
Yet today, my day seems so inadequate to cover the activities that need to be accomplished. Perhaps this is because urgency seems to abbreviate time for us mentally. Literally, everything we do has a priority level that is higher than it merits, but we do little to pack those issues down and often allow them to dictate our lives.
He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”
Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.”
Mark 9:35-37 (NLT)
It serves us to examine more closely how Jesus welcomes the children so we can mimic his behavior as His Disciples.
Jesus said, “Leave the children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to me, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Matthew 19:14 (CSB)
What do we take away from this record of Christ’s interaction with children? Notice specifically what Jesus says here, “don’t try to keep them from coming to me”. I would have to gather from this that several children were eagerly seeking to be with Jesus and while his disciples were attempting to keep them at bay, all that they could manage was to attempt. In a more modern vernacular Jesus would say, “Give it a rest guys, let them in to see me!”
From this, we can surmise that Jesus wanted the children to come to him. Then he says, “because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
If we will take the children as an example of how we are to become before Christ Jesus, then considering how they respond to the Love and Grace of Christ is a critical benchmark for us to strive towards. Understand I am not discounting in the least the importance of maintaining Jesus as our standard bearer. We should never lose sight of the Master, however, when Jesus states that the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these, He sets the tenor of our approach to Christ.
The first book of John gives us more insight into what Jesus expects of his followers regarding this childlike faith.
So now, little children, remain in him so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you know this as well: Everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children — and we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know him. Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when he appears, we will be like him because we will see him as he is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as he is pure.
1 John 2:28 – 3:3 (CSB)
Childlike faith doesn’t question the depths of motivation or the minutia of the reason behind what Jesus calls us to daily.
Thinking back to these children, we can visualize that they were not trying to squeeze past the disciples because they felt they would get any prize for presenting themselves before Jesus. I’m all but certain that none of them had any consideration of a heavenly reward which motivated their desire to be with the Master.
His love and grace drew them! Love abundant, and grace that was sufficient. They likely couldn’t even articulate why they wanted to be with Jesus, but they knew exactly who they wanted to be near, the trappings and rewards for seeking this were inconsequential, so long as they could reach Jesus.
Because of this, they found pure joy and comfort in His presence.
“The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” We are to become one of these children.
Forget about what our cut is out of the heavenly pie is. Disregard the reality of a heavenly reward. Do not seek Christ Jesus for what he can do for you but rather what he has done for you and continues to do.
Heaven is a wonderful reward! When we give our lives to Jesus, it assures us an eternity of existence with Him. This is fabulous! But these things are not the motivation of a child seeking Christ. The children received a blessing for their efforts, but that was not the motivation for their actions.
The Lord’s grace and love was the motivating factor for these children. So much so that nothing else mattered outside of seeking to be with Jesus. Childlike determination, struggling to avert that which blocked them from access to Christ bundled up with all the energy of youth seeking the acceptance and acknowledgment of the Son of God.
Such as these, we should become. Forget all that high and mighty intellectual dogma, it has its place to be sure, but it shouldn’t be what drives us to Christ. Don’t regard what He can or will do for us, revel in that which He has done for us already and is doing for us every moment.
We absolutely need to be His disciples and sit at His feet and learn from Him every intricate detail we can, but our motivation must come from our deep abiding desire to be with Him because we love Him, because He first loved us!
Just like those children.
Not caring so much about what we will do today, as long as what we do involves us getting to and being with Jesus. Not worried about the bills to be paid, or work we need to do, so long as we can get close to the Master.
The truths of the scripture all revolve around one element The Word. The word that became flesh and dwelt among us. The Word that is the Light of the World, which darkness cannot overcome.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14 (CSB)
It’s this that we need to be excited about, disregarding all other things just so we can get close to Him.
But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:12-13 (CSB)
“But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God”. In this passage, Jesus doesn’t say we will become children of God but that by receiving him we are granted the “right to be children of God”.
Jesus offers His grace freely. Because of that grace, we now have the right to become the children of God. The flip side of this is that we must seek that. Becoming God’s child doesn’t happen automatically when we walk into a church or recite a specific set of words. It happens in the heart, in the heart of a child, seeking Jesus. Determined to reach Him to be with Him. Not for what comes later because of this relationship, but because of what this relationship has given us already and continues to grant us right this second.
He wants us to be His “Little Children”!
In His Grace,