Today’s Thoughts, Matthew 18:1-4

by Pastor Lee Hemen
April 4, 2008

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:1-4)

I have met a lot of childish Christians, but few child-like believers. Why is that? One gentleman was an older man in his nineties, that is now with the Lord, who exemplified a child-like faith. He walked in and exuded the grace of Jesus Christ. I also knew a quiet mild-mannered pastor mentor who is with the Lord as well that said more with his life than almost all the preachers I have ever heard, read, or know — including myself! Then there was a little lady who “rolled with the Lord.” Her words not mine. She could not “walk” because of the multiple sclerosis she suffered from and used a wheelchair. She too is with the Lord, walking and running with Him now.

These folks impacted my life and the lives of others in a far more reaching way than most mega preachers ever will. (Much of what is written and produced in today’s Christian world is just regurgitated chewed over insights that are often sugar-coated for the unsaved masses.)

I have found that little children are very simple in their faith. In fact, most children will honestly and openly believe in a loving God without any preconceived notions. It is only after “mature” adults get a hold of their lives that children begin to doubt or not believe. Such is the seductive nature of sin as it matures, grows, and blooms in the life of a sinner.

While the disciples wanted to know, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (A question that they wanted answered in order to know whom Jesus liked best, them, others, or the Pharisees, rather than actually wanting to know what the kingdom of heaven was like.) Jesus gives them an answer that would have startled them. Jesus calls a little child over and has him stand among them. Right in their midst a child teaches these men proud macho men about what it means to have childlike faith. Jesus relates, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Did they hear Jesus correctly? Never? (Matthew 18:3) The idea is not one of simplicity as much as it is one of personal pride — humility. Just as Jesus taught that “blessed are the poor” or “blessed are the weak,” He did not mean physically or necessarily monetarily but rather spiritually. It was a question of “Whom do you place your faith intrinsically?” “Therefore,” Jesus calmly continues, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” “Are you a child in faith,” He was asking these men. “Are you willing to trust me as a child trusts or will you continue to try to explain and make excuses for your pride?”

Children are dependent upon others to feed, cloth, and protect them. Children depend on unconditional, unquestioned, and open love in their lives. Children are the least in stature, the weakest in strength, and the most teachable in our world. Unless you are willing to be small in of yourself, you will not ever enter into the kingdom of God.

Where is your pride today? Has it kept you from the full knowledge of the Lord? Has it kept you chained to the “mature adult” opinion of life that you will not give up anything in order to be the child of God He desires? Imagine that the child called over by the Master is you. How would you stand in the midst of strange men? How would you stand after the Master calls you personally and takes your hand? Oh dear child of God, let your pride go today and seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and live in childlike faith in the One who loves you!

NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety.

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