“At that time the disciples came to Jesus. They asked him, “Who is the most important person in the kingdom of heaven?”
“Jesus called a little child over to him. He had the child stand among them. Jesus said, “What I am about to tell you is true. You need to change and become like little children. If you don’t, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who becomes as free of pride as this child is the most important in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18 from The Little Kids Adventure Bible. Zonderkidz. Copyright 2000.
I am always amazed by the honest and sincere explanations children will freely share as they try to process and understand the world around them. We have little favorites in our house. When our oldest was a little guy of maybe three or four years old, whenever he would feel scared, he would say, “My stomach is nerwvous.” Not that he felt nervous, but that his stomach was nervous. When my middle son was trying to describe the three o’clock shadow on his daddy’s face one day, he said, “Daddy, your sprinkles are tickling my face!” And recently, my youngest son asked me when his “parent teeth” would start to come in.
The other day, a dear friend of mine sent me one of those chain emails with no author, but with the request to send it on to five other people… you know the ones. A group of people asked children ages 4-8 years old to define the meaning of love.
- A little boy named Billy, age 4, said, “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
- Another boy named Karl, age 5, said, “Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on cologne and they go out and smell each other.”
- Noelle, a 7 year-old girl said, “Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, and he wears it everyday.”
- And my absolute favorite was from Lauren, a 4 year-old, who said, “I know my sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go buy herself new ones.”
Do you hear the sincerity in their voices? Doesn’t it just make your heart smile? No pretense. No second-guessing. No pride. Just their honest pure thoughts on love. Isn’t this what Jesus is talking about when he says we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven? He wants us to let go of all of our pretense, our second-guessing, and our pride, and just honestly and purely BE. Just like these children.
We are surrounded by so many things in this world that are tarnished. We have hearts that may be hardened and jaded. But it is right now, especially during this Easter week, that we are reminded that Jesus gave his life for us, so we may be washed clean. So those things that are tarnished can be polished, and our weary hearts can be refreshed and renewed. So we may become like children.
Thank you so much for children; for the things they say, and how they say them. Thank you for your Son, who through his sacrifice, can reveal the child-like innocence you want us to know. Lord, we want to become like children so we may know the kingdom of heaven.