At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying,
“Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them
and said, “Truly, I say to you,
unless you turn and become like children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,
but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him to have a great millstone
fastened around his neck and
to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Matthew 18:1-6 (ESV)
Do you notice that as our view of children becomes less Biblical as a culture, we read these verses with more temerity? I know I do!
I grew up in a culture in the 40’s and 50’s that definitely had it weaknesses. But children were raised to have some discipline and have a work ethic. They also were allowed to be children and play…a lot.
They woke up in the morning, may have had some chores, but then it was time to go to school or out and play! And we did! Yes, outside, running around, lots of exercise, exploring, riding bikes, etc.
There was no thought of people who would kidnap children or worse, sex offenders!
There was no thought of kidnappers or even more unspeakable, sex offenders. Those kinds of people were beyond our worst nightmare!
And now? Now, we have to do background checks on all the staff who work in our churches or even help with our children. Even with all the precautions, things still happen, in churches, in families, in schools. There is inappropriate behavior going on all around us.
As a culture, our attitude toward the weak, infirm and even babies and children has taken an ugly turn. A recent comment from a leader in NOW gave me chills. If you haven’t heard it, I won’t pass it on here. That’s how ugly and evil it was! Children are designed to be only for our convenience and if they aren’t “convenient”, it is perfectly find to kill them…as long as we don’t use the “k” word. It is way too crass. Abortion is fine, but please don’t call it what it is. That is much too crass for sophisticated conversation.
How did Jesus view children in a culture that devalued them?
How did Jesus view children…in a culture that had a very low view of them? He valued their humility highly as an example to us of how we need to come to Him.
He also has a special punishment waiting for those who cause them to sin…or as some translations put it “to stumble.” Our children trust us as adults. Especially those of us who are leaders. Whether we are parents, grandparents, Sunday School teachers, elders or deacons in the church or unofficial people there. Or whether we are school teachers or simply relatives. They look up to us. They believe in us.
When we are intoxicated with power or arrogance and lead them astray for our own purposes or our own satisfaction? What kind of people does that make us?
Certainly not people trying to glorify GOD and enjoy HIM forever. Certainly not people who love and care for the weak and fragile among us.
I’m continuing to think on the theme of those who are weak and how we relate to them in the Kingdom of GOD. See here for my early comments on the topic.
How do you think of greatness?
Has your thinking been adjusted by GOD’s Kingdom thinking?
That is, the way up is down, the way to grow is by being small, the way to greatness is by the path of humility.
Blessings Lisha as you start this new venture.