After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, â€œWhat were you discussing out on the road?â€ But they didnâ€™t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, â€œWhoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.â€
Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, â€œAnyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.â€ Mark 9:33-37 (NLT)
When you were a child, did you ever get caught with your hand in the proverbial cookie jar?Â I mean really caught in the cookie jar?Â My mom was a great cook!Â At Christmas, she was the Master Cookie Maker!Â The cookies werenâ€™t these pretty little one bite, fancy, petite things!Â Oh, no!Â They were the 2-inch diameter, medium thick, gooey, golden and wonderful things!!!Â Well, up until the day I left home at age 22 â€“ the temptation was too great to stay out of the containers that Mom would fill with her Christmas cookies!Â Quietly going into the kitchen while Mom was in the basement washing clothes â€“ carefully lifting the lid on the jar â€“ slowly and carefully putting my little fingers around 2 (I was greedy!) of those fat cookies and carefully lifting my hand out of the jar —Â I canâ€™t wait so I put one in my mouth and ease down and away from the high counter.Â â€œJo! What are you doing?â€ (How did she know these things??!!)Â â€œmghâ€¦nuthinâ€™, Mom!â€Â Ever try to talk around a mouthful of cookie?!!
OK.Â I was caught with one cookie in my mouth and another in my hand and I still lie!!!Â Dumb! At least the disciples kept quiet â€“ and lied by omission!!!Â No improvement there in Godâ€™s eyes!Â God sees me in my sin, big or small, and because He loves me â€“ pricks me with His question to allow me to confess and repent.Â The sin is covered. I learned from the experience and move on.Â But no!Â I have to usually compound the problem by lying or denying the sin and so it becomes an open door into a bigger sin.Â By bigger, I mean sin that leads me into a greater distance from the Father because each time I find it easier to ignore the â€˜prickâ€™ of the Holy Spirit to turn from my sin and repent and turn to the Fatherâ€™s side.Â Itâ€™s a slippery slope!
A little child is easily chastised in their disobedience.Â Their heart is tender and desires so much to please their parents.Â Tears of remorse come easily along with a trembling, â€œIâ€™m sorry, Daddy.Â I wonâ€™t do it again.â€
A pre-teen or teenager begins to learn about self and when chastised will raise their chin and look up with defiant eyes.Â Silence, excuses, or lies come more easily.Â â€œIâ€™m sorryâ€ is given more to avoid punishment and without a true heart change.
An adult will turn in anger with the initial question of their actions.Â The body language becomes aggressive and the denial is quick and hot!
Yes, Jesus lifts a little child up as the example of a true disciple.
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence, and donâ€™t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Psalm 51:10-12 (NLT)