Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
Matthew 18:1-14 (NRSV)
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!
“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell of fire.
“Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.
Since I work with adult ministry, I seldom have hands-on interaction with children. My children are grown, and my grandchildren are not little ones anymore. I do have three young great grandchildren, but I do not get to see them often. Therefore, I love having the opportunity to be around little ones! During our Wednesday night meals at church, I enjoy watching the little ones as they try to carry their plates, as they clean up their tables, and how they interact with one another. A young mother with a little one in her lap and an older child sat at my table. The younger child was a handful for the mother, and the older child was being told how to take her plate back and where to put it. I saw her do what her mother told her to do and the joy on her face when she accomplished it was priceless! This was a teachable moment for this mother!
I think I witnessed one of the things that Jesus was trying to say to the disciples in telling them that they had to change and be like little children to enter the kingdom of God. Children are teachable! They are open to learning and can even get excited over learning to do different things. Their lives are not stagnant. They continue to learn and move into different places to become who they were created to be. It doesn’t take a child long to understand which people in their lives they can trust. A child knows they are dependent on others who can and do provide for their care.
I believe these words from Matthew call us to look at our lives and assess if we are totally dependent on our Creator God. Are we still growing and learning and becoming? Have our lives become stagnant? We are children of God. We must continue to be willing to learn and grow, and we must be totally dependent on the God who created us.
Gracious and loving God, lead and guide us as we grow and become more like you. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Go with God.