It’s a well worn passage. Matthew, Mark and Luke all record it. The memory must have been emblazoned on their minds. I imagine it was one of the few times Jesus raised his voice to the disciples.
“But Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.'” Luke 18:16
A couple weeks ago, the pastor at Cascade Hills Church, here in Columbus, GA, started on Mark’s version of this story. I almost rolled my eyes. Some things are just over done, right? I mean, not only does this verse parade through the halls of my Sunday school memories, but just recently I’ve studied this passage in my Good Morning Girls Bible study. I just read it in Matthew last week as part of my through-the-Bible-in-a-year program.
But, as I’m touring the halls of memory, I distinctly remember the insistence in my parents’ voices when they said, “If I told you once, I told you a thousand times!” That meant, You’re supposed to remember this. It’s important!
So, I shook myself a little, refocused on the pastor and dug past empty gum wrappers and loose bobby pins to find a pen. Then, my mind drifted again, filled with questions:
What did Jesus mean, “For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”? For some reason, I started thinking along the lines of gifts. Maybe that’s because another version phrases it, “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” It’s also applicable because, after all, according to 2 Peter 1:3, the God of the Kingdom is a wonderful gift giver:
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
Romans 3:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
What is a child’s role in the gifting process? Simply receive. So, if we are the recipients of God’s good gifts, how should we receive? All Christians long for the joy of Heaven, and we know that the only way there is through the gift of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12)
So, just think with me, as His children (Gal. 4:6), how should we receive His good gifts of grace, mercy, eternal life, all that we need for life and godliness, the Holy Spirit and so much more?
1. A child never turns down a gift. Can you imagine?
2. A child will never offer to pay you back. But, as adults we spend most of our lives trying to pay God back for His kindness to us. “After all He’s done for me, it’s the least I can do for Jesus.”
3. A child is fully willing to ask for a gift. Most of us, as adults, pepper our prayers with, “Only if you want to, God. I’ll understand if you don’t.”
Or, we feel guilty after a particularly needy prayer. But Jesus says, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” John 16:24
Just some food for thought. I’d love to hear your comments. How do you receive a gift – for that matter, a compliment?
If you’re really honest, do you see yourself as working to pay God back for His goodness toward you?
Supporting Scriptures: Matt. 20:28, John 14:16, Matt. 11:28, John 14:27