Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." And he laid his hands on them and went away.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 19:13-15 & 18:1-4, ESV)
As I try to listen to God and search out what He would have me write in each entry, the sources sometimes come from unexpected angles. Not long ago, a friend posted something on her social network status about a young boy in her Kindergarten class. He came in one day and announced that he had seen Heaven that morning. She laughed to herself as she was reminded of the conversation she and one of her sons had that same morning about how the sky looked. Perhaps if you close your eyes, you too can see a majestic sunrise or sunset with the clouds billowing around and the sun's rays beaming down at all manner of angles. And maybe, just maybe, this is a glimpse of Heaven if our perspective were a little different.
How often do I rush through my day and miss the magnitude of God in the simplicity of what I could see around me if I would stop and take the time to notice it? How many complex games and strategies do I attempt to devise so that the world will work a little more like I think it should work? How many times do I blow right by what is simple and enjoyable because something else "needs my attention now"? If you are like I am and if we are both honest to any degree, I'm thinking the answers would put us to shame.
Our Lord placed an extraordinarily high value on a childlike perspective of life, both temporal and eternal. When others around Him thought He had "important" stuff to attend to, He stopped them with a gentle (but firm) rebuke and called out what really mattered to Him. Kingdom perspective, it would appear, is far more in line with a childlike innocence than it is with our grown-up perspective. In fact, along with those meek, lowly, and poor called out in Matthew 5, the Kingdom belongs to children, or at least those who can conduct themselves from the perspective of children. Any way you look at it, the result is quite different than our "mature, adult mindset" might think.
Tony Campolo, in one of his books, chooses an illustration that I believe sums it up pretty well. He talks of parents frantically searching for their 4-year-old daughter in their own house during a strong thunderstorm. As they both rush into the little girl's room, they are stunned to see her standing on the window sill with her entire body pressed up against the glass. As they move to get her down to "safety", she turns to them and says, "I think God is trying to take my picture." In that brief story, the point the Savior makes is driven home. It takes the innocence of a child to even consider that God wants a picture of us for His desk or wall. And in our adult mode, we miss the reality that He really does think that much of us.
As I travel the Crooked Path, I need to slow down and gain a fresh perspective. Yes, there are times when my adult approach is warranted, but if I listen to God's heart, I believe I will clearly hear the call to return to a more childlike perspective. If I can do that, perhaps I will laugh and play just a little bit more and know that doing so brings the Father great joy. And as I travel, perhaps instead of walking, I will skip for a while … just like a child on his way to see his Father.
- When is the last time you stepped back and took a fresh, childlike perspective to your life? What is holding you back from doing so?
- Has your life become far too hectic, far too planned, and far too difficult for you to manage? Are you getting more than a little tired of taking on your "adult responsibilities"?
- What would it take for you to change your perspective back to a more innocent one? Can you even imagine that God wants your picture on His desk, that He values you that much?