“Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” ~Jesus
We often hear the line “child-like faith.” Jesus uses children to teach about humility and faith. Other than the disciples, children are the only group Jesus blesses in his earthly ministry. Leaders in children’s ministry love this verse. (We love other verses too!) In watching my two boyz grow, I’m learning more and more that child-like faith is not about simple trust or joyous abandon. I’m also thinking that children as a model of humility is less about their status. Here is what my boyz are teaching me about child-like faith.
My oldest son when I brought (OK, dragged) our first real Christmas tree into the house, stood in complete amazement. The word he used: Amazing! My youngest started kicking and flailing his arms as mom held him in a way he could see the tree. It was big, it was huge. And, after all dad’s kicking, screaming and complaining about a dumb ol’ tree in our house, two boyz changed my heart (my wife gave me the “see I told you so” look). The little and big things are equally amazing to kids. Jadon had the same reaction to the ice machine, the moon, ice cream, toy trains, the list goes on. Kids get amazement. They get wonder. But, its more than just the newness my boyz eagerly seek amazement. Its wired into their DNA. The quest for amazement is a skill we lose or forget.
Daddy! Daddy! Means the same thing as Jesus saying “Truly truly, I say unto you!” Its not enough for a kid to be amazed. When amazed, we HAVE to share about it. Whether its demonstrating a newly conquered skill, or some simple thing they discovered, kids talk about it. They have to. Discovery is the root of their joy. What is learned and enjoyed must be shared- except with a brother or another child. We’ll talk about depravity at another time. Kids talk. They share what is most valuable- their hopes, dreams, and mostly the little things of life. Its wired into their DNA. The desire to share is a skill we lose or forget.
When it comes to being hurt, dad is second fiddle to mom. Kids get the ministry of presence. But, my boyz get mad if I’m not around, even though its mama they want to play with or hold them. Jadon grabbed my hand once, sat me down on the couch and then took my wife’s and took her to the choo-choo’s. When I got up to go to the kitchen, play stopped and Jadon looked at me. He did not resume until dad was back in the picture. Kids get that people are the most important thing. People are more important than the task or what is being done. And whether it’s being held, or just being near, kids thrive on presence. Its wired into their DNA. The importance of people is a value we lose or forget.
CHOO-CHOO’S! Train. Train. Trains!?
Kids are devoted. When they like something, they want more. And more. And more. You get the picture. But, they don’t just want it- they CRAVE it! Jadon cannot get enough trains. Gavin cannot get enough doors for him to open. They must have more. They celebrate what they love. They ask for what they love and they go crazy when they get it. What they love is bigger than life. You do not have to convince them they know it. Its wired into their DNA. Devotion is a value we lose or forget.
Child-like faith is being amazed at, sharing, being there for, and being fully devoted to God and the people He places in our life. Sure, simple trust and joyous are a part of that, but those barely scratch the surface. Children are not simple followers. They are much, much more, and we would be wise to re-learn the skills that were once a part of our DNA.