August 25, 2007

Like Children?

Mark 10:13-16

He took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:16


Yesterday we noted some childlike qualities that should be part of our relationship with God: innocence, trust, simplicity, and freedom from pride.

But anyone who spends time with children could also come up with a list of “childish” behaviors, such as self-centeredness, stubbornness, and sudden outbursts of anger: “I can’t wait, and I won’t wait. I need what I want this minute, and I won’t take no for an answer. I’m going to stomp my feet and scream till I get what I want!”

We’ve all seen such behavior and attitudes—in infants and toddlers, school-age children, teenagers, and young adults. We’ve seen these attitudes in people who have children and even grandchildren of their own. I’ve also seen them in bank employees and in the highest levels of bank management. I’ve seen them in teachers and professors, in deacons and elders and pastors—in myself.

In today’s Scripture passage the disciples exhibit this childish behavior as they selfishly push children away.

We shouldn’t assume that the children Jesus embraces are uniquely and exceptionally well-mannered. Jesus’ embrace doesn’t depend on how well-behaved we are, or even how strong our trust is. But he does call us to trust and obey, and he gives us the strength to do so. Here’s a profound statement of faith we can live by: “Little ones to him belong; they are weak, but he is strong.”

Loving Jesus, strong Jesus, we thank you that you take us, your children, even in our weakness, and say to us, “You belong to me.” Hear our prayers, O Lord. Amen.

About the author — Fred Bultman

Fred Bultman began a “second career” as a pastor in 1997, after a first career in the banking business.  He served as pastor to congregations in the U.S. and Canada. In retirement, he continues to enjoy sharing in the ministry of the churches in and around his home in Fremont, Michigan.

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