Sunday, December 1, 2013

As a Little Child

A good parent leads his children towards independence, so that the child can one day become a good parent himself and produce more good parents, and the cycle never ends. And God is the best Parent, right? So of course He guides His children toward the ability to be independent, too? 

That's where it gets interesting. Yes, we are to become spiritual parents in a sense: "For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord," (1 Corinthians 4:17a). But God has no grandchildren. We all remain His children forever - His little children, if you will.

"Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to Him and said, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it'" (Luke 18:15-17). You have to be childlike. But what does that look like? Well, let's look at the very next verses; Jesus is going to teach us via opposites. 

Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?” But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” 

Little children came to Jesus to receive, to be blessed by Him. They knew they were the needy ones. But the rich young ruler came to Jesus for an assignment, apparently thinking that God needed him to do some good work. The rich young ruler felt good about himself; he felt important. I'm sure that when he said what a good law-keeper he had been, he expected Jesus to be kind of amazed and to congratulate him - he wasn't expecting to be told to become poor and follow in faith.

Little children are typically unafraid to ask grown-ups for what they need, and they expect us to be happy to give them what they ask for. Do you see God as a giving Father that you desperately need or as some religious icon that demands a certain kind of life from you?

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