By Sarah Brainard (ROOTS Middle School Youth Director/Leadership Training School Student)
FAITH LIKE A CHILD
“Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” and calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-4
The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14
Child-like faith. I find it very beautiful that Jesus tells his disciples to humble themselves like a child in order to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. A child, someone who by age and experience (and often height), is below or is lower. They are constantly in a state of learning new things, of experiencing new things, of being in awe over the world and over all things new. I want you to think of a child that you know or have met. Chances are you have experienced them asking questions or learning new things; it’s magical! For them, there is so much joy in the little things. Often, because they are young, they will submit to someone older and wiser correcting them or teaching them something. This is what Jesus is talking about when he says to humble yourself like a child; He wanted His disciples to position their hearts to be open to learning new things about God, experiencing the beauty and glory of God in new ways, and constantly being in awe of our God. Finding joy in the little things that God does.
The second scripture drives His point home. While I do believe that Jesus was talking about the children that the disciples were rebuking, Jesus was talking about the adults too. The beauty in these two scriptures is that they are but a chapter apart. Jesus was trying to make a point about not hindering anyone who would like to come to him. He says, “let the children come to me, do not hinder them”. Aren’t we those children? Based on the first scripture, we should be those children. We should be those innocent, always seeking, always observing, always asking, children.
So, what does this mean for us? Often times as adults, we look at children and think, consciously or unconsciously, that we have so much to teach them and that they have so much to learn. The point that Jesus is making is that we need to put ourselves in the position of the child that has so much to learn. We will always and forever have so much to learn about God and His creation, God and His majesty, God and His grace, God and His love, God and His faithfulness, God and His strength, etc… We will always and forever have more to learn about God. When we have reached the point where, “we feel like we have learned everything we can about God and now we have so much to teach others”, we have entered into a prideful mindset, and stagnancy in our faith. Someone once told me that they had read through the whole Bible a multitude of times, and they will continue to reread it because God shows them something new each time. For me, those are some of the wisest words I have ever heard. We need to position ourselves to be in awe of the new things that God is going to show us, and that God is going to do.
God, our loving, gracious, kind, forgiving, awesome Father,
Please help us in our pursuit to humble ourselves like a child, and to have faith like a child. Help us to constantly be ready for the new things that You will teach us and show us. Help us look at the world that You have created with the readiness and excitement of a kid who is seeing something for the first time. Jesus, help us understand Your word and Your life so that we may truly spread Your love and light, like a child spreads excitement and joy. Holy Spirit help us and teach us how to love more fully and more genuinely as a child does.
We pray all this in Jesus name,