668) Act Your Age?

People were bringing little children to Jesus in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them.  But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.  Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”  And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.   –Mark 10:13-16

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     One might wonder about these words of Jesus in Mark 10.  It looks like Jesus was telling his followers to be like little kids.  My wife and I had a couple little kids, and we were always telling them to grow up.  We never had to tell them to act like kids.  Kids act like kids all on their own, and that means they can be selfish, rude, obnoxious, silly, noisy, disrespectful, and uncooperative.  Is Jesus telling his disciples to be like that?

       Not exactly.  Jesus does not say we should be like kids in every way, but he does say that we should receive the kingdom of God like a little child.  I think that has something to do with being open to faith, and not full of cynicism and doubt, like you can get when you get older.  It might mean being loving and trusting, and not suspicious and guarded like you can get after you’ve been around the block a few times.  It probably also means being humble enough to know that your are dependent on Someone greater than yourself, something you might forget when you have been successful and seem to be meeting all your needs on your own.  And it might have something to do with being eager and willing to learn.  It is always the little ones in Sunday School that are the happiest to be there and most eager to learn.  Many adults seem to be of the opinion that they have had enough of that sort of thing and have little interest in learning any more.

     It is in these ways that Jesus is telling us to be “like a little child” if we want to enter the kingdom of God.  So yes, do what your mother always told you and “act your age.”  But do remember that God is your heavenly Father and your are still his little child, no matter how big and important you might become in the few years God allows you to rule your little kingdom on this little earth.  No matter what you do, become, have, or accomplish as an adult, the only thing that will matter in eternity is that you remember and believe that “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”  

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PRAYER BASED ON MARTIN LUTHER’S CATECHISM EXPLANATION TO THE INTRODUCTION TO THE LORD’S PRAYER:

OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN.  O God, you encourage us to believe that you are truly our Father and that we are your children.  Help us to pray to you with complete confidence, just like little children speaking to their dear father; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.  Amen.

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