I am blessed with many things. And many of them others find odd, irritating or downright offensive. I have the ability to say the wrong thing. To do the wrong thing. To be the wrong thing. I say the word “Sorry” and sometimes my apology is accepted and sometimes not. Sometimes I want to hug away the hurt and sometimes my hug is welcome and sometimes not. Sometimes I just want to be hugged and sometimes I am and sometimes not.
An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, and said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.’ John answered, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.’ Luke 9:46-50
And always I now find the world of a child easier to understand than that of the adult world I am supposed to inhabit.
Children accept much more easily than adults. Children forgive more readily than adults. Children forget the unimportant stuff and remember the important stuff so much more enthusiastically than adults. Children live on the moment so much more than adults. Children love in the moment so much more than adults.
‘Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.’
‘Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.’
The more I read of Jesus the more I see a child.
And the more I wonder why it takes me so long to un-learn thinking myself so much more sophisticated and wise than a child. I cannot undo being an adult. I have no desire to undo being an adult. But as a grandparent I am learning than I have confused adult knowledge as sought after “wisdom” for too long. I have valued the judgement of others as the measure of my worth. I have accepted too readily that fitting-in is the objective of adulthood.
And all of “that” applies to the bible, to religion, to church and to “following” … My personal portfolio of belief was encouraged and taught to place all of that before all of this.
An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest.
Couldn’t agree with you more on this business of being ‘like a child’. Those childlike characteristics were what Jesus must have been on about. (Perhaps the ultimate conclusion to my diet should be greater transparency – or is that going too far!).
I did recently hear another interpretation on the the Jesus ‘let the little children come to me’ – bible story, where we have that oh so sugary picture of the little darlings ( with the Victorian picture of the multi-cultural little crowd sitting on the lap of a surely British Jesus!)
Children, in NT times were of even lower value than women: even more so than in Victorian times they should be seen but not heard. So the story is also about Jesus valuing the worthless.
Apart from that valuable insight, I think this is a great message about biblical interpretation: Despite what we sometimes try to pretend, there is not ONE interpretation and understanding of biblical text , but a number of layers all of which are equally valid and can be used by God to help us get to know him more and grow closer to him.
As always: thanks for sharing your wisdom.
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Thanks Keith. Someone I know talks of seeing such things like a rose in a vase. Different vantage points, distance, timing … all mean the same thing is different to each. More and more I like leaving that aside in favour of “wow!”
My, my Paul. You packed such a truth into this post. Being childlike, undoing adulthood- what a challenge we have. All hard, but not difficult. Complex but simple. Relearn, reapply, renew. Unlearn to kearn again but this time just like its told, not what everyone tells us it says.
Just this morning i had a friend ask me if I read a lot of commentaries when I write my blog. Truth is occassionally i do, but most often i just ask God what He wants me to write and that’s what comes out. He can speak to me as well as Matthew Henry, can’t He???? And if I can listen as a child I’ll do ok.
Love this post grandpa. Hug the kids. You’re more like them than you think.
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Thank you Pete. Lots of hugging the little ones recently. One of the things I keep noticing is the absence of self-pity. Tired = sleep (no matter what they might be missing, what others might think, who mght be offended). Happy = hugs (no calculation or reticence). Excited = noise … Hungry = hangry … Sad = tears … Wonder = wonder! And that last one can be over stuff I never even know what is “wonder full”. And THAT always makes me “wonder full”as well 🙂🙂🙂
Psalms says blessed is the kan in whom there us no guile” I think we have to be like children to get there. And i love hugs too!