Estimated reading time: 5 minutes:-)
Mark 10:13-16 ~
“People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children into his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.”
I’m around kids a lot.
My littlest sister is 4, my littlest brother is 6, and my sister is 9 (and those are just the three littles).
There were a handful of times I had a baby on my hip when I was a young teen and SO MANY people asked me if my little sibling was mine. Heck, the kids I babysit refer to my little siblings as “my kids” and I’ve just embraced it at this point.
You’d think I’d get sick of being around kids at some point. And it’s true, I do need a break every once in a while. But the remarkable thing is that the more time I spend with kids, the more I want my own, the more I learn from them, and the more I want to be with them.
I’ve been thinking about what it means to receive the kingdom of God like a child. What does that look like?
Let me tell you a story.
A few nights ago, I was saying goodnight to the kids in their room.
Elyse, who’s 9, asked me, “How can Jesus be in my heart when there’s not much room in there? How does that work?”
I laughed. “Well, Jesus isn’t like a full grown guy standing in your heart. It’s spiritual. It’s like His soul is in your heart, not his physical body. Does that make sense?”
“Oh okay,” Elyse said. “I guess Jesus is asleep right now cause we’re going to sleep.”
“Well,” I said, “Jesus doesn’t really sleep–“
Before I could continue, Lily (who’s 4) put in her two cents. “Yeah Elyse, Jesus is asleep in my heart right now. And He loves me.”
I think I teared up a bit because it was just the cutest thing I’d ever heard.
But it got me thinking, what is it about children that God wants us to be like?
When you were a kid, did you ever question your parent’s driving?
I remember driving home late at night, looking out the window at the stars when I was a kid. Humming along to the radio. Crashing never once entered my mind. I knew my parents would get me home safely. I didn’t doubt it a second.
Now, I’m gripping the armrest while my dad whips around corners, squeezing my eyes shut and chanting “We’re gonna die. We’re gonna die. I’m gonna die. This is it.”
My dad’s driving never changed (although he was always a little bit reckless). My trust did.
I used to trust so easily. Now it’s hard to trust anything.
But another thing: a child’s trust isn’t blind.
If you’ve ever spent about 2 minutes with a kid, you know: they ask a BOATLOAD of questions.
“Why do we have to eat dinner before dessert?”
“Why is that lady fat?”
“Who made us?”
“How can Jesus fit in my heart?”
It’s never-ending. But their questions don’t come from a place of doubt. They come from a place of curiosity. And I think that’s important to remember.
We’re called children of God. Not subjects of God, not even servants of God. Our identity lies in the name “Child.”
I’ll ask you: how many times does God have to be good for you to believe Him when He says, “Trust me, I will bring good out of this. Let me hold you”?
A child wouldn’t even give it a second thought. “Of course God will be good,” they would think. “He’s been good for the last… forever and ever!”
“Of course dad’s going to drive me home safely,” they think. “He’s never not gotten me home safely.”
The only difference between these two examples is the fact that crashing is still a possibility with your dad or mom. But with God, crashing is out of the question.
Here’s what I’ve learned about children to be qualities worth pursuing:
Children ask hundreds and hundreds of questions. Their appetite never ends. They never “know enough” about something. They keep pursuing the truth, the answer. They want to learn more and more and more. They are hungry for answers, which makes them particularly hungry for Jesus.
But they trust. Not blindly. They have plenty of evidence to trust. But they trust without question, with complete peace, without worry. Have you ever seen a perpetually worried child? A paranoid 3 year old? A stressed-out toddler?
They know their place. You never see a child walk into a room of adults and believe he runs the place. He knows he’s a kid, so he still asks his mom if he can have dessert, respects everybody else who’s twice his height, and listens before he talks.
They live joyfully. Have you ever Christmas-shopped for a kid? It’s a piece of CAKE. Because almost anything can excite a child. You could get a $0.99 candy bar for a 3 year old and they’d be over the moon for the whole week.
They let their father hold them. They rest in his arms. The rest.
They look at the world with wonder. They’re enraptured by the stars. Their mouths hang open when they see animals at the zoo. They understand how incredible God’s creation is. Everything is big and beautiful and cool and amazing to them.
I want to live like that. Joyfully, in awe of God all the time. Humble. Trusting. Curious. Restful in my Father’s arms.
2 Corinthians 6:18 says, “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
1 John 3:1 says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”
I think the biggest thing we can do as children of God is to trust that He loves us.
Lily said, without hesitation, without ever reading the Bible for herself or praying just the right things or serving in the church or doing any of the Christian stuff: “God loves me.”
I want to be able to say that with the same confidence. “God loves me.” No questions asked. Because it’s true. It’s so so true.
I challenge you to be childlike today. To be amazed at everything. To be joyful even from little things. To ask questions. To trust your Father. To let your Father gold you To know your place. And to confidently believe that God loves you.
Because why would He call us children if He didn’t love us so much?