“Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the realm of God as a little child will never enter it.”—Luke 18:17
Have you ever noticed that the adjectives “childish” and “childlike,” which have pretty much the same definition, carry very different connotations?
For example, when we say someone is childish we mean they display some of the worst aspects of children’s behavior: self-centeredness, stubbornness or whining.
On the other hand, when we say someone is childlike we imply they are innocent, open to wonder, and full of trust.
Jesus says it is those who receive the realm of God as a little child that will enter it. He invites us to be childlike rather than childish. He invites us to see the world with a little child’s wide-eyed wonder.
Something about Jesus himself was so compelling that he inspired many of those who met him to immediately stop what they were doing and put their complete trust in him. Grown men dropped their fishing nets to follow him.
Wherever Jesus went there were crowds who wanted to be near him, to see his face, to hear his words, to touch him. Many in the crowd were social outcasts: prostitutes, tax collectors, the poor, the sick or the disabled. Or they were otherwise powerless such as widows and orphans.
But something about Jesus kindled deep within them powerful feelings of wonder, hope, and trust.
Prayer: Astonish us, O God, that we may experience your realm and reign with childlike wonder.
(This is my United Church of Christ Daily Devotional for November 19, 2016. To see the original go here. To subscribe to the Daily Devotional and receive it every day by e-mail go here.)