But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
When I was a kid, I convinced myself that if I really focused and gave it my best shot, I could fly. I climbed up onto the swing set and I believed that when I jumped off, I would fly. I did not fly. I landed on the ground (unharmed, thankfully).
Kids can be silly. They have huge imaginations and they will do and say exactly what they think or believe. They don’t have much inhibition. They don’t have any pretense. Sometimes, that leads to things like jumping off the swing set so they can fly. Sometimes it leads to running toward the open arms of Jesus.
We, as adults, have a tendency to hold children back. We try to keep them from doing the things that might hurt them like jumping off a swing set. Sometimes we don’t realize that we’re holding them back from running toward Jesus. As the disciples tried to shoo the children away, sure that Jesus wouldn’t have time for their silliness and energy, he told them differently. He said instead to bring them to him and he embraced the beauty of childhood. He told them that the kingdom of heaven belongs to such children. He told them that they could learn something from the children.
We all can learn something from those children.
They likely knew very little about Jesus. They probably didn’t understand all of the prophecies he was fulfilling, all of the theology of his role as the Messiah. They likely had heard the talk that he was a good man, a man of God, a teacher, a healer, and they wanted to be near him. They saw what was good, and they moved toward it. They didn’t worry about what could stand in the way, they just went. I highly doubt they had questions for Jesus about the details of his divinity or the correct theology of the Trinity. They ran toward what was good. Their pure hearts sought only to be near what was good.
If only our motives were that simple. If only we could run without inhibition toward the source of all goodness without worry or regard for what might stand in the way or what it might cost. This is the faith of a child, and the faith we should strive to attain.
Give me the faith of a child. Give me the pure heart of a child. Let me see the world through a child’s eyes again and let me see you through a child’s eyes again. Let me run toward you without anything holding me back, and help me not to count the cost or focus on the obstacles.
In Jesus’ Name,