Summary: This message focuses on how we change from our childlike faith as we grow older.
The Rock and the Hard Place – Part 4
What Happened To Our Childlike Faith?
Today is our Youth Sunday and while I normally do not deliver the message on the 4th Sunday, I told Rev. Anthony that I would today as he is still recovering from helping Rev. Cynthia cover for me during my absence.
As you are aware, I have been doing a series on faith and believing that I’ve titled “The Rock and the Hard Place.” My original plans were to continue the series with part three on the mustard seed. That message is written and ready to be delivered, but God has changed things around. This message, which I must title “Part 4” of the series is being delivered out of order because God gave me the message yesterday afternoon specifically for this youth Sunday. The message you will hear this morning was not a part of the original outline. It is about our early faith and belief, how we have changed since childhood. It will not provide all of the answers, but focuses on the question in hope that you will be able to discover your answer individually. This is the question that I want you to consider this morning: “What happened to your childlike faith?” I can ask this question to everyone but only you can provide the answer for you. I will speak briefly to my understanding of my situation and I hope that what you hear this morning will enable you to examine yourselves.
I. What Is Childlike Faith?
Turn with me to Mark 10:13-16. It reads “And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, ‘Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.’ And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.”
When the disciples noticed that people were bringing their children to Jesus so that He could bless them, they rebuked the people. Think about it from their viewpoint – here was their Master, the Son of God, who was carrying the weight of the world on His shoulders being asked to bless some little children! REALLY? Their Master had much more important things to do than be bothered with a bunch of kids. When Jesus saw what they were doing He became indignant and taught them a valuable lesson. He told them to let the children come and not to hinder them because the kingdom of God belonged to such as these. He finished by saying if the people did not accept the kingdom of God like a child, they would not get in at all. He was talking about a child’s like faith, believing without the proof. For those of you who have been around small children you know exactly what I am talking about. For our youth, I especially want you to grab hold of that faith you currently have (the childlike faith) which can begin to slip away from you as you continue to get older. Grab it and hold on to it because it will be hard to return to this point. I will share more on this momentarily.
For those of you who have seen the movie “Peter Pan” that came out in the early nineties with Robin Williams playing the role of Peter Pan, you will understand what I’m about to share as it relates to the attributes of a child. In the remake of this Disney classic, Peter Pan (Robin Williams) had left Never Never Land and had grown up. He was married with two children and was burdened by the cares of the world – in this case his job. When Captain Hook stole his kids and took them to Never Never Land in order to get him to return for a final battle, Peter Pan was totally out of sorts as he had forgotten what it was like to be a child with an imagination. However, the longer he was there, the more he became more childlike. By the end, he remembered what it meant to be “like a child” even though he was a grownup. If you have not seen this movie, I would recommend it. Now consider if you will these attributes of a child:
1. Children are honest and transparent. I am not saying that they will not lie or try to deceive, but in general, small children tend to tell it like it is. As adults we must be careful with the questions we ask a child because not only may we not like the answer, but we can potentially get our feeling hurt. If you ask a child “Do I look fat?” don’t be surprised or angry at the child if they answer in the affirmative. If they think you look fat, they will tell you the truth because that’s what they think. The filters have not been activated in their minds that by telling you the truth your feelings could get hurt. They tell you the answer to your question without considering how that answer will impact you. For them, it’s just an answer. They are not worried about what others will think or about what everyone else is doing. They are not self-conscious. They say what they think and keep on going.