One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so He could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering Him.
Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, ‘Let the children come to Me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.’
Luke 18:15-17 NLT
It took my son’s Children’s Bible for me to understand this. Brennan Manning might have had something to do with it, too. Either way, both books found me on the same day.
My husband was reading the devotional surrounding this passage to our 4-year-old. And I must admit my attention was elsewhere. Until I heard him say:
“Because Jesus knows children love Him.
And the children shout, ‘Thank You Jesus for loving us — we do love You!'”
(taken from My Goodnight Bible )
And suddenly I realized — all these years, I had this Bible passage all wrong. For I had always assumed what He adored about little children was their innocence. Their raw, impressionable hearts. That may be, but I’m beginning to see that’s not at all what Jesus was saying to the disciples.
I had read The Ragamuffin Gospel that morning. And had been mulling over a portion all day:
Jesus’ point is, there is nothing that any of us can do
to inherit the kingdom…
We must simply receive it like little children…
If they are close to God, it is because they are incompetent,
not because they are innocent. (pg 26)
After our son was tucked in for the night, I sat down and began to list attributes of children I have personally discovered to be true:
- You know when a child loves you. It’s written all over their face.
- A child clings unabashedly to what they love when they feel insecure. Incompetent.
- They have no trouble relying on their parents for learning most of life’s lessons.
- Truth comes easy. Natural. They speak their heart unabashedly.
- They forgive without consideration.
- They’re curious. Eager.
A handful more fill up my page. And when I stop to read them, I realize innocence is nowhere to be found. I never listed it. The one thing I had taken that verse to mean wasn’t there when reflecting on little children.
It was the last one I wrote down that put me near tears:
- They are full of wonder. They see pure beauty. They expect to see it.
Oh friends, somewhere on life’s journey we become preoccupied with ourselves. We lose the luster found in the world around us. It seems the more we know, the more science we discover, the duller beauty becomes. As we grow bigger, everything else grows smaller. Insignificant. Wonder becomes forgotten.
If that’s what it takes to become a grown up, I don’t want to be one. I want to retreat back to a child’s mindset. Where we wake up each morning excited to discover new beauty that surrounds us. Where we take the time to stop, gaze, and delight in God’s wonder. Where not a day goes by where we are not caught squealing. It doesn’t matter from what. It all comes from God.
This week, I tried it. I stopped scrubbing floors to study the ant by the patio door, trying to return home. I watched the flight patterns of the butterflies in our rain garden.
Would you mind if I list some other wonders I discovered?
- The sparrow outside my bedroom window sings the same song of praise under rainy or cloudless skies.
- The mother duck knows her duckling’s limitations and doesn’t even mess around with stretching them too soon.
- Frogs in our pond sing in a 3/4 rhythm. Almost in a round formation. I finally listened long enough to hear the entire sonata. I was captivated.
- There are no surprises with the rainbow’s color sequence. They’re always in the same order, but the vividness of each varies and each one deserves to steal our breath away.
I could go on and on. And I will. For when I wipe the cataracts of adulthood away from my eyes, I see God’s love surrounding me each and every day. I witness grace and mercy on new and different levels each morning.
And I can’t thank Jesus enough for showing us the way.
Father, thank You for knowing and loving the child within me…
How about you, friend? Will you join me on the journey of becoming like a child? Will you try something new this week — something that goes against your adult nature? What else can we do to achieve this mindset? I’d love to hear.
Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!
Thanks for sharing your time with me.
NOTE: This is a part of my Back-to-the-Basics Redemption Series. You can catch other posts written by clicking HERE.