Q: Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?
A: “And calling to Him a child, [Jesus] put him in the midst of them and said: Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Mt.18:2,3In my new role as Grandmom I had a chance this week to meditate on these verses with the help of a real live object lesson…
Why must I become like a child?
--Because a child is full of wonder. All is new, fascinating, delightful-- be it snow falling or water splashing, a button to push, a switch to flip, words, peculiar noises, music…everything is wonder-full.
Jesus came to make all things new. Do I wonder at His mercies all the day through?
--Because a child is wired to receive. He’s not embarrassed to be held, not ashamed to say, ‘I’m hungry.’ These are the cries of his needy little soul. He is utterly dependent on his mommy’s tender care and lost without her love. He expresses it with every cry of “Up, Mommy.” We grown-ups may discount the needy and aspire to independence and self-sufficiency. But God says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt.5:3) “Up, Daddy” may be just what God waits to hear from us.
"But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God..."(Jn.1:12)
--Because a child is ready to believe—anything. He trusts his parents. Believes what they say. And lives with exuberant expectancy of good things from their hands.
We adults might call such people ‘gullible’. We fear being taken advantage of, deceived, hurt. Jesus says, ‘whoever believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?' (John 11:25) Without faith it is impossible to please God for who’s going to come close to God without first believing He’s there, and that He rewards the one who pursues Him? (Hebrews 11:6)
--Because a child is eager to imitate, to be taught, to learn. Make a face, he will copy it. Applaud and he will too. Laugh a lot and expect him to join you, even if he doesn’t know what’s so funny.
Daddy is his hero, the man he lives to copy, just like Jesus who said of Himself, “Whatever the Father does, the Son does too.” Jn. 5:19 This is built-in humility. No smug knowing it all, no demand to ‘do it my way’. We might call such a one unoriginal-- a copy cat. But Jesus invites us to take His yoke and copy Him because He Himself is gentle and humble in heart. (Matt.11:28) David had such a heart: “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Ps.25:4,5 Am I so willing to be shown how to live?
And so a child demonstrates to his love-struck Grandmom the way to greatness in the Kingdom of Heaven… “for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt.19:14)
“…and a little child shall lead them”
"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God, and so we are." (I Jn.3:1)