At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:1-4)
As Little Children
There is something magical about the innocence of a little child. The character of a pure heart fills the mind of children with trust, love, and devotion. Their allegiance is a natural acceptance of the world they are born in, with dependence measured by an inability to care for themselves. One of the greatest attributes of a child’s heart is the absence of pride and arrogance. These are learned later in life by hearts that have been corrupted with the envy of self-worth. Children can be fighting one minute, and the next to be the best of friends with all slights forgiven. The heart of a child cannot harbor anger and hatred. Innocence is not a failing but a noble attribute of their nature that makes beautiful children.
Jesus was an amazing man. He could cast out demons, raise the dead, heal all manner of diseases, and walk on water. The Lord rebuked the Jewish leaders’ hypocrisy, debate with impunity the cleverest of legal Jewish minds, and rebuke the harsh critics who attacked Him. There was a gentle side of the man from Nazareth as He enjoyed spending time with little children. Mothers would bring their little boys and girls for Jesus to bless them. He would take them in His arms and tell them words from His Father. It seems that children were often in the company of Jesus as on one occasion when the adults were arguing about greatness, Jesus took a little boy and set him in the midst of the disciples. He takes the little boy and tells the disciples that they will not enter the kingdom of heaven unless they become like a child. Jesus must have amazed the adults as they looked upon the pure face of a little boy who had little idea how important he was to Jesus. What was the boy’s name? Who were his parents? What became of the little boy that became an object lesson for Jesus?
Children are born in innocence and grow to adulthood where sin fills the heart. Salvation comes by conversion and this transformation happens when the spirit of the man returns to his childhood. Unless a man changes his heart to be trusting, loving, and forgiving, he cannot be pleasing to God. Adults are tasked to teach children, but adults must learn how to be faithful to the Lord. The greatest in the kingdom are those who are humble. A child is not filled with pride. They depend wholly on others. When conflict arises, they forgive easily. The safest place they find themselves is in the bosom of their parents. When danger comes, they immediately run to the safety of their parents. Children of God depend wholly on their heavenly Father in a humble spirit of love. When conflicts arise in the family of God, they forgive easily. Their security is in the word of God, and when danger comes, they seek the word of the Lord through prayer. Christians must learn from children how to serve the Lord.
Life problems will be solved if children are placed in the midst of those who seek greatness. Jesus was a humble Son devoted to the will of His Father fully trusting in His Father’s will. The life of Jesus is a testimony to the heart of a child. If the Lord did not have the heart of a little child, He would never have accepted the cross and its suffering. Thank God Jesus had a child-like heart. His followers must develop a heart that is like a child. A servant’s heart. The spirit of love. A pure heart. Willing to sacrifice for others. Forgiving heart. A heart filled with God. Overflowing.