Receiving as a Child

1In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”

2Jesus called a little child to himself, and set him in the midst of them, 3and said, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter intothe Kingdom of Heaven. 4Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. 5Whoever receives one such little child in my name receives me, 6but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him that a huge millstone should be hung around his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depths of the sea. — Matthew 18:1-6 (WEB)

I’ve written several devotionals based on thoughts I get while walking Barnabas, our dog. It is good thinking time! Yesterday, on our evening walk, Barnabas and I were accompanied by my three year old granddaughter. It’s interesting to have someone along who is so truly interested in the world and everything around her.

We understand what Jesus was saying in this passage in many ways, often based on what we think about children. Some go so far as to suggest that we want to be pretty much ignorant and inexperienced as children, so that we follow God without thinking. Others are afraid Jesus is saying that, and so run away from this passage. But it’s important to remember that childhood ignorance is not some sort of disease. It can be remedied. We call it “growing up.”

There are a number of things Jesus is probably pointing to in children. He mentions specifically humility, and it’s a form of that I want to talk about today.

While we were walking, my granddaughter had a simple sense of wonder. We walk by a fenced in yard where there are two beautiful dogs. I pointed out one of them, and she thought that was pretty wonderful. Then the other came into view. She looked at me with an expression of profound joy, held up two fingers and announced, “Two of them!” That little thing was exciting to her.

On our way back, the two dogs were barking. She looked at me and said, (Poppa’s translation!), “I don’t like them when they bark.” I told her that “woof, woof” was their way of saying hi. Suddenly that look of wonder was back, and she waved to the dogs and said “Hi!” Then as we moved passed the fence she looked back, waved, and said “Bye!”

Do you find joy in little things? Are you thankful to God for a nice morning, a cute dog, a beautiful flower, or the stars in the sky? Or do you need something more spectacular each day before you can find that joy. I’m not counting those more spectacular things out. They are great! But can we be thankful to God for the things he does every day and find a sense of wonder in them? Do we perhaps want God to “do one better” every day, otherwise we’re not going to be happy.

I think having the humility will mean that we’re always thankful, and always receive God’s blessings with a sense of joy and wonder.

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