Jesus often used children as an example of what we need to be in order to be pleasing to him. Have you ever thought about how humbling it must have been for the leaders of the church to be told that in order to please God they must be like uneducated, immature, snotty-nosed, barely toilet trained children?
Have you ever thought about how this would look like in your own life?
I struggle to completely understand what Jesus means for me to come to him like a kid. It is really hard for me to view the world with the same innocence and awe of a four year old. As I have become an educated, mature, dry-nosed, pee-with-the-seat-up adult, I have lost a sense of what it might be like to have the faith of a child. I see everything through cynical, skeptical, perhaps practical eyes.
Children refuse to listen to practicalities. They dream big. They see the world as being something larger and better than themselves. They love life and they enjoy it. This is why children’s stories are magical and adult stories tend to be tragic.
The pharisees were practical. They kept trying to show everybody that Jesus was wrong and they were right. Meanwhile, kids just sat in his lap and smiled.
I ran across a picture of my oldest daughter recently that illustrates the heart of a child. Several years ago we took a vacation to Florida and visited Sea World. As we walked by a manatee statue, my daughter asked if I would take her picture. I’m not sure if she knew what a manatee was, but I was happy to comply with her request. Neither the statue nor the photo opportunity meant much to me. From a practical perspective, it was a waste of time. But my daughter saw something more. She walked up to the statue and then turned around and posed.
In what I was viewed as a crowded spot meant to trick tourists into doing something stupid, she saw magic. Look at how alive she is. I have no idea where she got the idea that she needed to explode with happiness and joy. This is my daughter simply being herself. I pray that she never changes. I hope that my cynicism does not wear off on her. I want her joy to be contagious.
When I see this picture of her I feel like she is saying, “I am fearfuly and wonderfully made by the God of the universe. A mysterious, omnipotent God, who put his effort and skill as an artist into designing me, and I am going to show off his handiwork. I am going to enjoy all the other aspects of his creation. I am going to live my life to its fullest, because he is good.”
It helps me to look at my daughter and see how she views life so that I can try to have faith like a child.
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