Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 21, 2018
By Tripp Prince
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. Matthew 18:1-5 (NRSV)
As a father of three, the majority of my life is lived in close proximity with young children. At times this can be exhausting and all consuming, as any parent can attest, yet it has also been one of the most beautiful and transformative experiences of my life. My children have taught me to be quick to forgive, to laugh freely and frequently, and to think the best of others.
As we grow, we seem to leave behind the innocence and humility of childhood and are told, implicitly and at times explicitly, to become people of significance and power, even if we must sacrifice our time, relationships, and integrity in the process. It is a life of taking rather than giving, of forcing rather than receiving, and it is so pervasive that it becomes our default posture and normative way of viewing the world and our place within it.
Jesus, as he often does, invites us to reassess the true nature of reality. In God’s Kingdom values are turned upside down. The powerful and successful in this world have, in their quest for greatness, lost something of what it means to be truly human. Children, often dismissed for their weakness and dependency upon others, are instead elevated as an example of what is good, beautiful, and true.
Jesus extends an invitation into a life of transformation. It is the consistent call to conform our lives to his example, becoming like him in the process. The virtues of childhood – humility, honesty, simplicity, and selfless love – Jesus himself perfectly embodies. Jesus likewise dignifies and elevates children, and we should do the same. To celebrate and welcome children and their virtues into our own lives is to welcome Jesus himself. As St. Jerome said, “Whoever lives so as to imitate Christ’s humility and innocence, in him Christ is taken up.”
Give thanks today for the gift of children. Look to their example of humility and walk with them, becoming like them, and Jesus, in the process!
PrayerFather, thank you for the gift of children, the example they are to us and the invitation you give to us to be like them in their humility and love. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
ApplicationWhere have you lost sight of the childlike faith and love that the Lord wants you to know and receive?
Related ReadingJohn 1:12; Romans 10:17; 1 Peter 2:2
Post/Tweet todayGive thanks today for the gift of children and look to their example of humility. #wisdomhunters #greatness
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