Become Like Children

become like children

I think Jesus was trying to teach us something really significant when He gathered the crowd together and said to them, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

I am constantly amazed by kids, and as a former children’s pastor, and current pastor, I have seen quite a few kids in my day.  Kids have this great and innate ability to call it just like they see it and as a pastor that is incredibly refreshing.  Teaching a room of kids is far more intimidating than teaching adults.  Why?  Across the church (in my own experiences) I have been asked more complex, hard to answer, thought provoking, laugh inducing, heart wrenching, honest questions from children then I ever have from adults. Check out these real questions I’ve been asked.

“What if I pray, but can’t hear God’s voice?”
“Can I have more communion? I like it.”
“Why doesn’t God stop the bad people from  hurting me?”
“Can God come visit me?”
“If Jesus was a real kid…did He pick His nose too?”
“If God is everywhere…did He watch me in my school play ?”
“My parents are getting divorced will God ever do that with me?”

Perhaps this was one of the qualities of children that Jesus was trying to impress upon the crowd that day.  If so, we as adults, should take note.  We should learn transparency, urgency, humor and the art of asking questions.

Children are also capable owning their faith and it’s implication in their lives.  When a child “confesses with their mouth, and believes with their heart that Jesus is Lord” they are saved – and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell with them, and within them. (Romans 10:8-10) It should be said clearly and loudly that children get the SAME Holy Spirit that adults do.  Just because a child is 6, does not mean they only get a fraction of the Living True God – thats ridiculous.

Yet often we treat children as if they are lesser than us; incapable of ‘real’ ministry and unable to fully participate in the body of Christ.  We drag them along until they are 18 and ‘adult’ and suddenly expect them to have skills, passions and maturity ready to go.  Yet the whole time they could have matured in those areas we told them, “you’re too young” or “when you are older” or “that’s just for adults.”  Kids want to participate, they want to engage, to have ownership – and they are capable of it!

I see no reference in Scripture that indicates kids can’t – but I do see plenty that indicates they can.   Check out these biblical examples.

A young girl taken captive demonstrates immense grace toward her captor. (2 Kings 5)
God spoke to a young boy when the adults failed to listen. (1 Samuel 3)
It was a young boy who stood his ground against the giant Goliath. (1 Samuel 17)
A young girl was willing to obey God no matter the cost. (Luke 1:26-56)
A young boy with a sack lunch was ready to help feed people. (John 6:1-15)
A 8 year old boy became king to lead God’s people, and did right before God. (2 Kings 22)

What child do you have in your life that you can encourage to do great things for God? What is Jesus trying to teach you about your own faith through the kids around you?

Want to hear more about kids and God, and what it means for you as an adult? Listen to this recent message from KetchikanNaz:  All God’s Children.

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Become Like Children

The Little Stuff

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Elisha is a great prophet of God, and he was overseeing the sons of the prophets – the priests/pastors of the day.  They were running out room to stay and asked if they could build larger facilities.  (A good problem to have, right?)

Elisha gave them permission and so they each took an ax and cut down logs to begin construction.  One of the men took a swing and the ax head separated from the handle and fell into deep waters.  The man was struck to the heart and cried out – “Oh no, it wasn’t even mine…I borrowed it!!!” Elisha heard the cry and came over and asked what happened and the man explained the tragedy.  Elisha took a stick, tossed it in the water above where the ax fell in and the ax head floated to the top so the man could retrieve it.  (My version of 2 Kings 6:1-7)  

I have read this story many times over the years – it’s short – just 7 verses and then nothing more on it.  I’ve always wondered what the point of this story was.  Then I re-read it again this past week and as I was settling in to bed I began to pray about my day, my worries, my hopes and the things that we all pray for the Lord revealed something to me.  This passage is an answer to a question we ask all the time:  does God really care about the small things in my life?   The answer is YES.  God deeply cares for the things that cause our hearts to seize up.

As a father, I see my little girl feel the highest highs and lowest lows over ‘the little stuff.’  Her crayon broke, it was her favorite color, and so she cries.  Her favorite pajamas were clean and she is overjoyed and breaks into a dance.  This is the little stuff, and as her father, I enter into those moments with her.  I console her over the crayon because it is very real and significant to her in that moment.  I join her in the dance over the PJ’s, because, why not?!

God is the same way with us.  He is a good Dad who desires that we ‘cast all our cares on Him.’   Jesus wants nothing more than to enter into our lives – in the big stuff, and the little stuff and provide care for our hearts and souls.    He wants to console you over what makes your heart sad, and he wants to dance with you when you rejoice.   What is your sunken ax?  Will you let God lift it for you?

The Little Stuff