Skip to main content

No visions of grandeur here!

Have you ever fought for a position - feeling like you should be the logical 'next candidate' for the position - only to find that it wasn't all that it was supposed to be? Usually by the time we have that figured out, there is someone else just waiting in the wings to take our spot - dreaming big like we did not so long ago - about to buy into the illusion of grandeur! Sometimes we are just better off putting out hands and head into whatever is at hand and stop being so concerned about the status of a position!

For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, "I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom. What's more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it's the same as receiving me. (Matthew 18:2-5)

The disciples have just finished asking Jesus the "important" question that had been in the back of their minds: "Who gets the highest rank in God's kingdom?" This was probably eating at them for quite some time - being as competitive as we humans are by nature, it was only natural that they would want to know about "status" in the kingdom. Jesus uses an "object lesson" to convey the answer - a young child is called over. Why a child? Why an object lesson? Couldn't Jesus just have answered this question straight on without the object lesson? Certainly, Jesus could have simply said, "Look, this is how it is..." - proceeding to answer his disciples without any object lesson. The object lesson was going to help "connect" the words Jesus was speaking when they were looking face-to-face with the small child. That child conveyed innocence, displayed enthusiasm, and was probably more than a little curious to see what the teacher was going to do that day (especially since he had been chosen to be the center of that day's lesson!).

Jesus knows exactly what it is that we need in order to best understand the concepts he is teaching us. Sometimes it can be said straight out - grasped without any "challenge" in our spirit. At others, we need that object lesson to help us "connect" with the concepts being taught - it makes sense when we compare what is taught to what we know about the object lesson. Jesus tells his disciples that there is an attitude of spirit, mind, and will that helps us to "connect" with him - that of a child - elemental and simple belief connection. Some of us have walked with Jesus just long enough to want to be a little "weightier" in our study of the Word - we want something that will "dazzle" and will show our "maturity" as we dig into our study. We forget that Jesus is all about helping us connect with him in the simple and elemental. The "simple" side of God is his ability to be straightforward with us - he doesn't beat around the bush, but gives it to us head on. In other words, what you see with God is what you get with God! The one who is always looking for something "deeper" often misses the things that are right there before their eyes.

The elemental side of God's character reminds us that his plans for us are not complex - they are, in fact, simple and straightforward. First, love him with all our heart - in other words, all your passion, prayer, intelligence, and energies. Second, love others as well as you love yourself. A child understands these principles - everything they do is done with a passion and with energy. I have two grandsons - both engage with life like there is no end to their energy reserve and enthralled with the next thing they will encounter. That is what God wants of his kids. That is the purpose of the object lesson. We often make our Christian walk way more complicated than it needs to be - expecting things of ourselves that really end up holding us in bondage instead of helping us be free to experience Christ with passion, energy, understanding and enjoyment. The next time we are tempted to think we need to "show ourselves mature" - we would do well to remember our object lesson of the little child. God looks for us to approach with innocence - because a heart and mind that is renewed is a freeing thing. He invites us to experience him with enthusiasm - boundless passion - because he has a specific purpose for our passion.

So, it is not the question of who is the greatest - who shows themselves the most knowledgeable or the deepest in their insight. It is really about the one who reveals a mind willing to be engaged in the process of discovering who Jesus really is, a spirit that is willing to take the time and energy to connect with him, and a will that is eager to respond to the direction of his voice. Don't underestimate the privilege of living simply and engaging life elementally. The benefits of that kind of walk cannot be measured in "stature" or "position", but rather in the depth of the connection we come to experience in Christ. Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce …

Period!

When someone tells you that you need to wrap your mind around some concept, they are telling you that the subject at hand will take some effort on our part to actually get enough of a hint of it in order to even remotely understand it. The subject is complex, even a little overwhelming, and we will have to apply ourselves to really grasp it very well. We cannot wrap our minds around God's wisdom and knowledge - because it is infinite and our brains are sadly finite. We can only 'think' so far and then we have to 'trust'. Some of us think there is nothing we can trust if we cannot 'think' it through, but this will never work when it comes to our faith. Faith requires trust in what is unseen and not fully comprehended. The truth we believe is really building our trust, but until we approach God with more trust than 'thought', we will never fully grasp some of the things he has prepared for us.

We cannot wrap our minds around God’s wisdom and knowledge…

Give him the pieces

What or Who is it that causes division among you right now? Maybe it is more of a 'what' than a 'who' that is creating the division between you and something you need in your life. Perhaps you are struggling with an addiction to something that keeps coming between you and true liberty from the hold that thing has on you. Yes, addiction is really the worst kind of enslavement one can imagine - being so emotionally or psychologically attached to the 'thing' that any attempt to break free causes so much trauma in your life that you just cannot imagine being free. But...God is above that addiction - he is stronger than the emotional or psychological pull that thing has in your life. Maybe the dividing force in your life right now is a 'who' - a tough relationship challenge between you and a coworker, a spouse that seems to no longer share your interests or values, or even a relative that doesn't understand some of your choices and now chooses to withdra…