… we should be like children.
I think about that phrase quite often, since there are many children around me at any given moment. What part of being a child does Jesus want for us? Does he want us to be disrespectful, selfish, whiny, impatient, messy, crazies with little to no self-control? Uh… I guess… maybe? Probably not. But the innocent, trusting, fun-loving, joyful qualities of a child are easy to understand as qualities of the Kingdom. These are things that, though they might seem a bit unorthodox for the Kingdom ruled by the Creator himself, would seem appropriate.
The other day, my three-year-old daughter was shouting from the top of the stairs, “I neeeed hellllllp… Will somebody pleeeeeeease helllllllp meeee????” She had obediently gone up to the bathroom, done what she needed to do, and now she needed some assistance from an adult – again, obeying her Mom who had previously told her to wait for Mom’s assistance after she goes “number two”. My first thought was, “Man! That is so annoying!” But quickly, I was reminded of Jesus saying that we needed to be like little children. Could this be one of the ways?
I still maintain that Jesus was NOT talking about whining when he said that.
What I saw was a little girl who needed help, and wasn’t afraid to ask for it. Most adults I know are not good at asking for help, maybe they are just plain awful at it. We’re taught to be “adults” and take care of stuff on our own. But maybe a way we can be like a child – a way we can see the Kingdom of God – is to realize we need help, and to ask for it. Not necessarily from other people, but definitely from God. Our Father can, and wants to help us. One way we can know the greatness of the Kingdom is to let him help us, allow him to work in us, instead of trying to be an “adult” and get it done ourselves.
A cool lesson from my whiny three-year-old… who may know a bit more about the Kingdom that I have forgotten over my passage into adulthood.
… you will be persecuted because of me …
Tonight we watched a debate on the existence of God. A friend had sent me the link earlier in the day, and tonight I was intrigued enough to watch it through with Jen. The debate was mostly silly… neither side was really listening to the other. They were to a degree, but neither was going to convince the other of their points, or sway their beliefs in any way. Some of it was sarcastic and mean-spirited… a little annoying actually. 🙂 I don’t think I’m a big fan of debates.
But the thing that I noticed was actually part of the lead-up to the debate. The footage they chose to show to introduce the Christian guys (Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron of The Way of the Master) was of them sharing “the gospel” in the streets, and the hostile reactions of some unbelievers. While that may be common footage, and perhaps an expected response (at least by Christians) … I was immediately reminded of where Jesus said that his followers would be persecuted because of him.
“Exactly!” misters Comfort and Cameron might say. However, as I recall from Scripture, the people who hated Jesus – who wanted to hurt and/or kill him – were the religious leaders of the day. The leaders of the religious establishment. They were the upstanding, moral, “religious right”. We think the people who will persecute Christians, who will hate us because of our message, are the hardened sinners who reject God with passionate fervor. But every example I can think of in the Bible of “sinners” is almost completely the opposite. Those “hardened sinners” flocked to Jesus. It was the self-righteous, cleaned-up, religious folk who persecuted Jesus and his followers.
Just a couple things to think about from what Jesus said.