“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
What does Jesus mean by saying we need to “change and become like little children”? One clue we have here is that Jesus is responding to the question “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And he replies, “Whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
In the books about Jesus and his disciples (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), we find that the disciples often argued over which of them was greatest; they seem to have been a competitive group. And they were thinking of greatness in terms of leadership, knowledge, power, influence, and other things.
So Jesus is telling his disciples that they need to change their attitudes about greatness and become lowly and humble like little children. Jesus’ followers need to die to their selfish ambitions and realize that, just as little children depend on parents and caregivers, we are all totally dependent on God for all our needs and future living.
Here’s another thought. A man in his sixties said, “Last week my four-year-old grandson said he wanted to be a firefighter when he grew up. I replied, ‘And when I grow up, I want to be a four-year-old boy.’ My grandson stared at me with wide, wondering eyes.”
Have you looked around at God’s world with “wide, wondering eyes” lately? That’s something I long for when I hear the call to change and become like a little child.
Lord, please give us the humility and wonder of a child as we seek to live for you each day. Amen.
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