“He called a child, had him stand among them, and said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven! Whoever then humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a a child like this in my name welcomes me.’”
Having recently read someone’s take on this passage, I had it in my mind as I visited my grandchildren last week. Although the author came up with all kinds of childlike qualities, it seems that Jesus’s emphasis was on humility.
So it started thinking, “What does it mean to be humble and childlike in a good way?”
My eighteen-month-old granddaughter so well pictures humility. She finds her security and provision totally in her parents, especially her mother. Whenever she needs food, help, or comfort, she cries for Mommy. When she is sad or afraid, she clings to Mommy. She expresses her feelings and expects Mommy to fix it—whatever that is. And she has faith that Mommy can do it. She follows Mommy and her plans for the day because she wants to stay close to her and knows that she can trust her ways.
Although the four-year-old has developed a lot of self-reliance, she still needs her parents. Even though she has demands, she still realizes that Mommy or Daddy must provide them. She turns to them to do what she cannot do, even though she often does so in a demanding way. This darling four-year-old becomes a real terror, however, when her parents’ plans don’t align with hers. I watched her throw a hissy fit (Texas terminology for a really big one) when she didn’t get her way to watch a video before bed. I would say that her humility rating is on the decrease!
I thought about all that I observed and the application of Jesus’s words to me. I may have entered the kingdom in childlike faith, clinging to Jesus, but I don’t know that I rate very highly on his greatness scale at this point.
The greatest in the kingdom is humble like a child. This thinking is certainly opposite that of both the world and the church. We exalt the successful and well-known, the one with the biggest ministry or the most followers. We like big names, not humility. Great equates with large.
Instead God watches to see how much we cling to and go with him, trusting the his way is best, childlike in a good way.
How childlike in a good way are you?