Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bring the Children to Him

13And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. ~ Mark 10:13-16

Maybe it is because I love kids so much, but this idea of faith like a child is significant to me. Kids have a lot of wisdom in their faith, loving God without question and knowing he is there no matter what. Recently one of the preschoolers said this to me “ I’ll tell you what God’s love feels like. It feels like God is hugging you with his fur coat on.” Another time I had a sick child in my office with a fever, “Ms. Jacque, can you pray that God makes my head feel better?” Children are constantly reminding me what it is like to have that simple and trusting faith like a child.

When I think of children, I think of these things: teachable hearts, innocence, dependence and worry-free. A child believes in anything, trusts easily, and anticipates with excitement – and that’s the very faith Jesus wants from us! Jesus is telling us that we must live with such dependence and receptiveness – not in childishness, but in childlike faith, fully dependent on the love and mercy of God.

In this passage, parents are bringing their children to Jesus. The disciples, who are caught up in their agenda rather than the Lord’s, don’t think that Jesus has time for these little kids. When Jesus sees this he is indignant, furious! He points out to his disciples that in the Kingdom he is building, the citizens are more like these children than like them. The citizens of Jesus’ kingdom receive his gift of salvation through faith and their ultimate desire is not their own agenda. Their desire is to love on and be in relationship with Jesus.

Children teach us many things: how to love others regardless of skin color, personality, and abilities; how to be real and sincere in our emotions-not being afraid to laugh or to cry when we need to; how status and significance means nothing compared to kindness and tenderness; how to enjoy life and not worry so much. But perhaps the most important thing our children teach us is how to receive. They teach us how to receive the kingdom of God. Jesus tells us that the way of entering into his kingdom is by receiving, and children are able to believe and receive Christ without a mind stuffed with self-righteousness, nor intellectual, and emotional baggage.

“Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Luke 18:17). Childlike faith is required for us to enter God’s kingdom. We are called to obey God, but he desires us to humble our heart, be vulnerable, and have a simple but profound level of faith. Notice, we do not enter the kingdom of God by working hard to be good enough for God’s approval. We enter it by receiving – humbly and simply.

1. In the first paragraph I mentioned two ways I experience child-like faith. How do you see child-like faith in children?
2. In what ways can the concept of “child-like faith” move you to grow closer to Christ? How might it be a hindrance?
3. The idea of being able to receive something as wonderful as the Kingdom of God because of Jesus work can be humbling for us as a adults. Spend time in prayer/ reflection in what it means to be one who has been received freely by God.

Jacque is the director of Little Bridges Childcare Center and has been a part of Canyon Creek Church since 2005. She is mom to four boys ages 26, 25, 11 and 10 and lives in San Ramon with her husband, Dana. She is passionate about teaching, children and cooking anything that uses up the herbs she grows in her garden.

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