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I don’t know if you have ever noticed, but in the Bible, whenever Jesus interacted with a child, it was always positive. What is it about children that made Jesus stop and pay attention? Those of you who are parents probably have an idea; but even if you are not a parent yet, if you would go back to your childhood years, you will get some insights to Jesus’ heart.
In the Gospel according to Matthew we observe, “He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven’” (Mt 18:2-4).
If you study the passage in context, you will notice that the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” While Jesus was thinking about the week leading up to His crucifixion, the disciples were concerned about being the greatest.
Isn’t it typical of the disciples?
But the sad fact is that it is also very typical of us.
As we get older, we lose a lot of the traits that make children special. Maybe this is why we get more cynical about things as we get older. We start to calculate more and play everything safe. We get bogged down with things and we forget to enjoy the moment. We worry about things that we cannot change or control. We lose the sense of wonder and awe in the simple things.
Is it possible that the struggles that we are having now are related to our “old” hearts? What would it take for us to regain the child-like heart?
Jim Rohn, an author and speaker gave four ways to be more like a child no matter how old we get; he writes:
2) Excitement – Learn to get excited like a child. There is nothing that has more magic than childish excitement. So excited you hate to go to bed at night. Can’t wait to get up in the morning. So excited that you’re about to explode. How can anyone resist that kind of childish magic? Now, once in awhile I meet someone who says, ‘Well, I’m a little too mature for all that childish excitement.’ Isn’t that pitiful? You’ve got to weep for these kinds of people. All I’ve got to say is, ‘If you’re too old to get excited, you’re old.’ Don’t get that old.
3) Faith – Faith like a child. Faith is childish. How else would you describe it? Some people say, ‘Let’s be adult about it.’ Oh no. No. Adults too often have a tendency to be overly skeptical. Some adults even have a tendency to be cynical. Adults say, ‘Yeah. I’ve heard that old positive line before. It will be a long day in June before I fall for that positive line. You’ve got to prove to me it’s any good.’ See, that’s adult, but kids aren’t that way. Kids think you can get anything. They are really funny. You tell kids, ‘We’re going to have three swimming pools.’ And they say, ‘Yeah. Three. One each. Stay out of my swimming pool.’ See, they start dividing them up right away, but adults are not like that. Adults say, ‘Three swimming pools? You’re out of your mind. Most people don’t even have one swimming pool. You’ll be lucky to get a tub in the back yard.’ You notice the difference?
4) Trust – Trust is a childish virtue, but it has great merit. Have you heard the expression ‘sleep like a baby?’ That’s it. Childish trust. After you’ve gotten an A+ for the day, leave it in somebody else’s hands.
Let’s pray more for this child-like heart and then see what happens. I’m wondering if we will see the world with a whole new perspective.