Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.Luke 18:16 (NLT-Emphasis mine)
Ever watch children? I mean, really just sit there and watch them? Being the father of a four-year-old boy gives me a ringside seat into his world and the world of children period. Children are fascinating people, of whom we adults can learn from time to time. When I looked at the scripture for this post, and at my son, Carrington, I began to see what Jesus was talking about when he taught that the Kingdom of God belongs to people who are like children.
Jesus was referring to people who are childlike in their attitude; not childish, which is a whole different ballgame. In looking at Carrington, I realize what it means to be like “children”:
- Children are very trusting. They have not yet developed that cynical attitude.
- Children are bold. They attempt monkey-bars while they barely can stand up. Carrington’s game is jumping down steps.
- Children are open to new things. You see my man skating. We’re also starting on the bicycle as well.
- Children are very tolerant. They pretty much accept anybody since prejudice is a foreign concept.
- Children are very loving. They haven’t developed the art of hatred yet.
- Children ask questions-especially, “Why?”
- Children know to have lots of fun with very little.
- Children are very imaginative and are budding creators.
- Children are full of wonder.
- Children are born explorers. On the wooded trail, Carrington has to check out every downed tree’s roots.
- Children are very helpful. Carrington tries to help around the house. Children haven’t learned the art of “passing the buck”.
- Children own their emotions. They laugh when they’re happy, and cry when not. They haven’t learned the “art” of concealing emotions.
- Children are very open too. They’ll just come right out and say what’s on their mind at that moment.
Sounds like what the Kingdom/Queendom (or Realm) of God would consist of! Now I know one of you New Testament scholars will say, “What about Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians about growing up and putting away childish things?” Well, I’m glad you asked. My take is that Paul was a Romanized Jewish Pharisee. As you know the Pharisees in Jesus’s time were a pretty stiff bunch of cats. Also, Roman society could be rather stiff itself; and children were second class citizens. And from what I’ve read of some of the Epistles, Paul could be a little staid himself; some of his stuff smacked of adultism. No wonder why Conservative Christians love him!
Jesus on the other hand was a pisser of a Jewish rabbi who had the Jewish love of life. Jesus called out the wisdom in the most strangest of places; and what could be a stranger font of wisdom than the pee-wee crowd? In the verses prior to the above text, people brought their children to be blessed by Jesus. Jesus’s disciples tried to shoo the kids away when Jesus made his memorable statement above. Jesus called out a marginalized group-children-and made them a eternal object lesson. If we take the time to learn from little people, we may find that we have some real good teachers.
The problem with many Christians is that we “grow up”. We lose that childlike wonder the longer we live. We allow the responsibilities of life to make us stagnant and stuck in our ways. We live life and automatically think we have all the answers. We have routines that are really ruts. We become close-minded and too damn afraid to try anything new. We look down upon children as nuisances that need to grow up fast, rather than teachers to keep us young and fresh. In fact, we become childish in our attitudes!
This was the case when I wrote my August 3, 2011 post, “Time to Grow Up”. I was going through a painful time in my life and felt as if God wasn’t there. That He/She was just an imaginary parent that really didn’t give a screw about me; and that I had to take what God gave me and make the best of it. It was quite a downer post if you ask me.
But thank God that He/She brought me through and showed me what it was all about. That cynicism can kill you slowly on the inside; aging you prematurely. However, a childlike attitude keeps you fresh and young in spirit. That although I didn’t feel like God was there, but God was there as the caring parent. That childlike trust enabled me to write my “core values” posts since they too embrace childlike attitudes. And God blessed me with a teacher named Carrington. My little man just amazes me at times with the things he comes up with!
Let’s take the time to learn from the little people, for they can teach us quite a bit if we pay attention!