The disciples were regular men like men are today. Full of themselves. Did I say that? Yep. Here they were in the area of Capernaum, three of them having just witnessed the mountain top experience of the Transfiguration; the others down below not able to heal the man’s son because of their unbelief, and when they finally got alone with Jesus they asked Him, “Jesus, who will be the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” Not too full of themselves, right? Boy, did they have a pride issue! Pride was exactly what got the angels who sinned out of heaven!
Jesus, calmly went over and sat among the people and called out to a child who was nearby and asked him to come to Him. He gathered him in His arms, smiled at the child with those “I love you” eyes, and then looked up at his disciples and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4). Unless you are converted or changed; turned around; repentant. I like what a pastor said once about the word “repentant.” – Rethink. Rethink the direction you are headed.
Jesus chose to use a child to help his self-centered disciples get the point. We aren’t to be childish as the disciples who quarreled over who would be the greatest, but rather child-like. Humble with a sincere heart. Jesus also took a child, who, in those days, had no rights according to the Law, and stood him in front of Him and told not only His disciples but those all around him, that greatness in the kingdom is not based on works or words, but on a childlike humility of spirit.
Children. Young. Innocent. Full of wonder and excited about life around them. Also they are teachable; complete sponges. What did Jesus mean? Jesus takes those who come with total abandon. Unconditional love and trust; humble and simple faith, forgiving, gentle and kind.
But isn’t it like all of us who want to be known and have some notoriety even among other Believers? But over and over Jesus demonstrated as well as used His words to convey to these men that to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven was to be a servant. To be unknown. To be humble of heart and spirit. He must increase, John the Baptist said, and I must decrease. (John 3:30).
What does that look like in the everydayness of our lives? I come as a child in abandoning my failures, my inhibitions, my fears and toss them all to Him and then experience His gentle hand upon my shoulder when I have taken back my angst over my searching son and hear Him say, “I have your son.” And resting in His promises that He does! He really has my son, so that I can truly experience the joy He promised. “I came,” He said,” to give you life and to have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). It means watching to see where my guest sits at the round tables at Bible Study and sitting with her, even though I had wanted to sit up front so I could see. It means taking a meal, or praying for the mom who is in front of me in line at Wal-Mart, struggling with two busy, tired kids at the end of the day.Maybe even give her an understanding “I’ve been there, too” smile. It means……you know what it means. Stepping back and giving someone else their due. It means closing your mouth before you say something saucy.
It also means that it starts all over again the next morning. That coming to Jesus, opening up your arms and giving it ALL. All to Him. Surrendering. It means asking Him to be real in all those moments and putting yourself aside. Your pride. Your self-centeredness. Let’s face it, Girlfriends (who are generally the ones who read this blog). We are just like those disciples who asked Jesus who was going to be the greatest. We are. Take some time today and ask Jesus to convert you. Rethink those places where pride is lurking and give it to Him so you can truly experience His presence. His joy. Because you’ve chosen to come as a child. Humble. Simple faith. Totally trusting. Unconditional love.
Now may you…..Go out with His joy and be led forth in peace. Isaiah 55:12