Thursday, 6 November 2014

Simplicity. Humility.

Now having some idea of who Jesus really is: a prince among men, the new king in waiting - visions of David's glory which was to come after his years as a fugitive - the disciples now want to know how they qualify to be part of the inner circle. Who is going to up there with Jesus? Who will be top dog in the kingdom of heaven?

The answer cannot be what they expected; For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, unless you change and become like little children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child, whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.

Matthew Henry points out: Children, when very young, do not desire authority, do not regard outward distinctions, are free from malice, are teachable, and willingly dependent on their parents. ...these are marks of childhood, and render them proper emblems of the lowly minds of true Christians. Surely we need to be daily renewed in the spirit of our minds, that we may become simple and humble, as little children, and willing to be the least of all. Let us daily study this subject, and examine our own spirits.

I think of children's simplicity and straightforwardness. They like something: they are over the top enthusiastic, crazily in love with their favourite obsession.

Am I crazily in love with Jesus? Can he be more important to me, occupying my thoughts and desires, more than anything else?

I think of children's simplicity and straightforwardness. They don't like something (or someone): they make it very clear how they feel. They have no qualms about being honest in their dislike.

Am I similarly honest? Or do I pretend? Not that there is any excuse for rudeness or unkindness, but do I avoid opportunities where I could be more sincere and genuine about how I feel?

I think of children's enforced humility. In every society, even where they are valued, they are still of low importance in day-to-day affairs. They are subject to adults' whims and directions, having to follow along and obey.

Do I follow along with Jesus and obey what he has told me to do?

And then, beyond myself, I think about those adults who are like 'little children'. The mentally challenged, the damaged and vulnerable, the elderly: the many who are dependent on the goodwill of others. 

I think of how I can better treat them with grace, with love, with kindness. With great value, because they are, often, like 'little children'. Terry, Paul, Alice...scorned by many, you are signposts guiding me to better attitudes and a better way of following Jesus.

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