At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then he called a little child over to sit among the disciples, and said, “I assure you that if you don’t turn your lives around and become like this little child, you will definitely not enter the kingdom of heaven. Those who humble themselves like this little child will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me (Matthew 18:1-5, Common English Bible).
As I was looking for the picture to go with today’s post, I felt myself being drawn, again and again to the picture of the little girl above. She is an anonymous child from some place pictured as part of a YouTube video for a song titled “Nobody’s Child.” I think the reason I kept coming back to this picture is, I could see Jesus calling her over to sit among the disciples.
As I read today’s lesson there are two interpretations that come to my mind. I will talk about one today and one tomorrow. The first idea that came to my mind was really driven by the line, “Those who humble themselves…” In Jesus’ day a child was quite simply the product of his/her father. There identity came far more often than not, from their father.
As a boy grew, he gained more and more of his own identity as he accomplished more. When he learned a trade, most often after apprenticing with his father, he became known by his trade. If he gained notoriety, good or bad, it enhanced his identity, also for good or bad.
For little girls nothing usually changed much. She gained her identity from her relationship with her father until she married. Once married her identity was tied to her relationship with her husband. It was only when she had children, particularly male children that she gained any self-identity. If she never produced that male child, she never really gained an identity of her own. When her husband passed away she went to the home of her eldest male child. And, once again, her identity was usually tied to her relationship with another man, this time, her son.
The idea that we become like a little child is, in and of itself, a humbling experience. When we become a child, we don’t know quite as much. Things are simpler. But for today, we lose our identity. We are humbled because we are no longer our own. We gain our identity from our relationship with God. That is, quite simply, things are no longer about us, they are about God. We humble ourselves before God. Everything is about God.
It is a humbling idea. If we are to have a relationship with God, it is a relationship where we are servants. It is a relationship where we trust. It is a relationship where we accept life in very simple terms.
How do you demonstrate your humility toward God?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Peace,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved