Wednesday, June 04, 2008
In Matthew 18:1-5 Jesus says, "At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me." Here we have a situation where the disciples were wanting to be great. We see ego; pride; selfishness. Jesus surprises them with these words.
What is Jesus saying here? Greatness comes not from physical strength, but from spiritual strength; a humility of spirit. Kids are humble. They believe what you say. They are not hard hearted. They are persistent. They believe in miracles. They have a capacity for wonder. And if we are going to be great, then we need to have a childlike faith.
When we do not have a childlike faith, we try to be in control. We think that we have to have all the answers. We think that we need to take care of all of our needs. We think that we have enough strength to do what needs to be done. But in the end, we become predictable, because we usually do what is expected of us to do.
Predictability and faith cannot coexist. What characterized Jesus (and ultimately His disciples) was unpredictability. The things Jesus said and the things Jesus did was always surprising those around Him. He ate with sinners, hung around tax collectors, prostitutes, and lepers, and healed people on the Sabbath. In fact, when Jesus was present, everyone was uncomfortable because they didn’t know what to expect.
This is what childlike faith does for us; it leads us to do the unexpected because when we follow God's leading, it usually is not what is expected. I know in my life when I follow my lead, it is nothing new or profound, but when I have faith like a child and trust Jesus, then it is very profound.
I challenge you to think about how you can be more childlike in your faith. What do you need to do differently? Where do you need to let go? Where do you need to trust more? What miracle do you need to ask God for?