August 04, 2015

Children of God

The gist of the sermon was that many believers have forgotten what it’s like to be a child and the pastor took worshippers down memory lane to help them reconnect with the kid inside. Chasing butterflies in the morning and fireflies at night; being able to play in a bedroom that is still a mess and splashing in mud puddles. He described children as spontaneous, genuine, open and vulnerable. The pastor said, “You have to take along the little child within you; not childishness, but childlikeness.” Jesus was indignant when his disciples rebuked people for bringing little children to have him touch them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:14b-15 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----”Little children” as a translation of the Greek “paidion” is yet a bit ambiguous. Note that the Greek word ends with “n”. That’s a neuter form. We’re talking younger than a five or six year old; we’re talking so young that even the child’s sex is not readily apparent. The less ambiguous translation of this Greek word is “toddler”.
-----All of the cuteness and innocence and playfulness of children is precious and the like. But when it comes to carrying well rounded, meaty meaning to the table, these concepts just don’t seem cooked in the rest of the Bible’s gist. We’re supposed to be innocent as doves, for sure, and joy is Paul‘s description of the kingdom of heaven along with righteousness and peace. These are also identified to be the reason for coming to the Lord like toddlers. Yet toddlers aren’t very bright. They’ve hardly figured out how much more comfortable life is after pulling down their britches before going. They’ve learned nothing about the concept of others. Everything they get close to they figure is theirs. And they cry like babies when they don’t get their own way. So could it be that “come as you are” thing?
-----Those ideas might simmer in the Bible’s gist better than just playful, innocent, and cute. But there’s something more basic to consider. Two big things can be said about toddlers: they know next to squat, therefore, they receive teaching without question. We grow up into a world chocked full of distortion and deceit. Like the gills of a fish in muddy water fill with mud, our minds are full of the mud of mankind’s myths and fancies - everything from evolution to “fetuses” to abortion and tolerance - we’ve got it figured out. God tells us how He created the world and gives us a basic, twenty generation history of mankind and we receive monkeys for daddies and some accidental ameba in a primordial mud-hole for granddaddies…oh how cute, we're smarter than God! We’re not willing to erase our paper so God can write upon it.
-----Now there is a point about toddlers which does tie into the Bible’s basic sense: God speaks; we hear. The biggest thing about a toddler’s mind is how blank it is. The toddler brings a clean mental tablet to the Lord ready to be written upon without the annoying distortion, distraction, and detraction cooking up from what is already written all over it. Not long after the toddler stage children begin forming and protecting a core of beliefs about themselves, the world around them, and the possibility of there being anything more. The older the person grows the harder the core becomes. The harder it becomes, the less the person hears and sees.
-----But, that this core forms and hardens naturally does not mean life has no stool-softener for an occasional flushing. Paul says all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. Financial disasters, marriage crashes, and worse yet, untimely deaths of loved ones commonly flush out the core a little. But none of those are needed when a person just sits down and accepts the conclusions of some deeper pondering upon how immense is the library of stuff we do not know. Coming to the Lord like a toddler is to come like a dried sponge prepared to soak up the learning; it is to come with clean paper ready to be written upon rather than to come in the pride of everything written upon it. To come like a child is very much a part of the confession and repentance theme: come with erased paper. And that is a bit hard on the old “Come as you are” adage. To come like a child is to avoid Laodicea.

Love you all,
Steve Corey