"Let the little children come to me ... for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." Mark 10:14
A little boy asked his Mom, "What's the highest number you have ever counted to?" She didn't know, but then she asked him about his highest number. He said it was 5,372. "Oh," she asked, "why did you stop there?" He answered, "Church was over."
Churches often struggle with the tension of creating an environment that nurtures children as well as adults in worship and community. This was certainly the tension the disciples felt as they saw a group of little kids invade Jesus' space. The disciples didn't like it. But Jesus rebuked them for wanting to send the children away. He pointed out that children have something to teach us about faith: "Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."
Notice that Jesus focuses not on the character of children but on their nature. It's not the sweetness or innocence of children that shows us faith--it's their neediness and dependence. They depend on others to meet all their needs, and they do this willingly. This shows us what it takes to enter the kingdom of God.
Trying to be self-sufficient can blind us to what God wants to do in our lives. Our Savior invites us to come like a child before God; we need to be open, vulnerable, and needy. And just as Jesus received those little children, he receives us with open arms.
Lord Jesus, please break down our spirit of independence. Help each of us to come to you like a child today, fully aware of our needs and dependence on your grace. Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!