The disciples asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ Jesus 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.’Matthew 18: 1–3
Not even enter, far less be the greatest! But Jesus went on to say, ‘Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’ But surely, the inquisitive child, peeping round the doorway of the room where Jesus and his disciples were, was he not, like all children, immature, weak and ignorant? If it is humbleness that Jesus is trying to illustrate, why choose a child? Children are self-centred, selfassertive and demanding. We confuse humility with denial of worth. We make a mistake in thinking that being humble means we are of no worth. Jesus shows us that to be humble is to recognise our dependence on God whatever our own worth. Children are utterly dependent for food, warmth, protection – everything. They have to trust someone else for the necessities of life. How hard it is for the doctor to enter the Kingdom! All my qualifications, hard work, skills and reliability trap me into thinking I have all that I need, or need to be. We are utterly dependent on the Creator, whether we acknowledge him or not. It is how we regard him and use his creation which is crucial. Like little children, we must put aside the make-believe, the fantasy of our self-confidence, stop playing games, and come daily to Jesus, who alone can provide what we and the world need – forgiveness, with power to grow in grace, in love and in service.
Written by Richard Cook from the UK« Previous Day Today Next Day »