Bible Reading: Luke 18:15-17, Psalm 131
“O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.” (Psalm 131)
What does Jesus mean when He said that if we do not receive the kingdom of God as children, then we cannot enter it?
When children tried to come to Jesus, His disciples shooed them away. In those days, children were deemed a burden until they were old enough to contribute well to their families. Notice how we as humans value independence. We measure ourselves and others by our contributions to society. But it is not so with God’s kingdom.
Firstly, God values dependence on Him. Those who are citizens of God’s kingdom are taught humility. They are not taught to know everything. God’s ways and wisdom remain a mystery to them for the most part. However, we are called to trust that God is good and that He has all things in His control.
Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe (see Jeremiah 45:1-5), was rebuked by God when He expected God to give fruit from his ministry. God sharply said that His will was for the condemnation of Israel — this was His good and perfectly wise will, which we do not understand. God said to Baruch, “And do you seek great things for yourself?”. Baruch was seeking success in his ministry from his independence. This is not the way in God’s kingdom. We are called to humbly depend on Him for all things past, present, and future.
Secondly, God does not measure us by our contribution but by our faith. What can a child contribute to his father’s work? He is but a hindrance to progress. Woe to us if we think we are of such value that we can contribute positively to God’s work. We are, but a hindrance to God’s work and His ‘using’ of us as instruments is but an exceeding privilege. When we perceive that we will be judged by our contribution, our hearts know no rest, for we continually fail to match God’s standards.
Contrarily, a child rests in the mere fact that their parent is by their side. Children know not where tomorrow’s food will come from or who will pay the rental bills. Yet, they are not afraid of these unsolvable problems because their mothers and fathers care for them. Can we rest in the same way before God? Do we trust that He will sort all things out? Can we say, “I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother”?
May God grant us child-like faith that is dependent on Him. This is what pleases God.
Lord, have mercy on us. Grant us child-like faith that rests in You, wholly dependent on You. Our flesh inclines us to value independence, measuring our worth by our success and contributions to Your work. Forgive us, for Your salvation is of grace and not works. Teach us to humbly come before You to trust in You as our Father who provides what His children need. Teach us to trust Your plans and obey You in dependence. Thank You that we can hope in You, the living God. In Jesus’ name, amen.