Summary: Jesus said that we must change to become like children. What must you change?
Precious little potential adults. Tiny packages of compressed energy. Imagination factories. Tricycle motors. Curtin Climbers. What ever you call them they are the main reason we have balloons and Happy Meals and birthday parties and lawn sprinklers on hot summer days and Easter Egg Hunts.
They turn mothers into mommies and fathers into daddies. They can turn a tear into a smile in twelve seconds flat. Or an immaculately clean house to a dump in less time than that. Truth tellers, and chaos creators. Heart breakers. Memory makers.
In the space of about nine months they can accomplish what their grandparents couldn’t in two decades; turn twenty-something-year-old party animals into responsible, church-going, bill-paying adults. They turn spenders into savers. Leavers into stay-ers. Pagans into pray-ers.
They leave fingerprints on our windows and our hearts. They are a gift of the Lord. And of all the things He created, the Lord was most impressed with children. Our text today comes from Matthew 18:1 – 4 Lets listen to this beautiful text together. (Read text, pray).
What is it about children that makes them models of the kingdom?
Surely Jesus doesn’t want us all to become terrible two-year-olds defiantly shouting "No!", ignoring boundaries, and generally making pests of ourselves. You know I have discovered that there are children, then there are kids. Children are sweet. Kids can be mean, as when they tease and bully others. Obviously, Jesus doesn’t intend to sanctify these characteristics.
So what does he mean when he says, "Unless you change and become like little children?" When I read that I always think of my own childhood. I was, to be modest about it, an angel.
Like the time my mother let us stay overnight with some friends from church. And I thought, "My friends little sister needs my example, my teaching. What can I teach her that will help her be a better person?"
Well it was around December and the next big holiday was Christmas, so I thought she needed to know everything about Christmas. Well I began to tell about the big man in the red suit and how he lived in a cold land and really had trouble when he came to the hotter areas of the world. And he really didn’t know the culture and customs of places like Rome so the year before he really messed up and Romans crucified him.
I feel like I have always been a great teacher and she picked up on the point of the story very quickly. At least I think she was quoting me correctly as she ran down the hall crying. Boy sometimes it is hard to talk to a four year old.
Then there was the time that…
Well I could spend days telling you about pouring boxes of Jell-o into the neighbors pool so that we could walk across it, or about the time I stuck finishing nails into a B.B. gun and shot at passing cars but who has the time for that.
Anyway, not all children are like me when I was growing up, so we need to think about what Jesus means when he says, "Unless you become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven."