“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:14)
Have you ever watched little children at play?
I found myself doing just that the other day. A small gathering of little children was running, jumping, twirling, laughing, singing – doing whatever was in their heart to do at the time. Oblivious to the world around them… or to who might be watching them (including me). They were lost in their imaginations. Absorbed by their activities. Connected with their surroundings… and with each other by their amazing ability to just “let themselves go.”
Jesus told us that this is a perfect picture of those who possess the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God “belongs to those” who can embrace the kingdom like little children.
Do you know how hard that is for us?
We always want to “adultify” our faith – to make it a faith only for grown-ups… with all our self-aware sensibilities. We want to make it all about order and rules and correctness. We want to fill it with religious language and observances and rituals – and ascribe meaning to those activities.
But Jesus wants to make it a matter of engaging our hearts – and abandoning ourselves to the joy found in the kingdom.
Look at the context of the story. All the “proper” adults (Jesus’ disciples!) were trying to prevent the little children from “bothering” Jesus. “The Lord is too important for all these kids! The Master is for adults only!” You can just see it in their faces. You could hear it in their rebukes!
How does Jesus react to this? The Bible says He was “indignant!” Incensed. Greatly displeased. This was no small offense. It was no minor infraction. It was nothing to be overlooked. It is only one of the few times in all the gospels where Jesus is angry… with boiling, righteous anger.
This tells us something really important. It tells us that these are the types of issues that deserve God’s most fervent reaction. They are closer to the heart of the matter than we realize. Because they are the deepest matters of the kingdom of God.
Jesus is telling us that the kingdom of God is available to everyone… but only those who are willing to “let themselves go” in embracing the kingdom will find it’s deepest meaning, fulfillment, and pleasure.
Anything else is a shallow pleasure. A watered-down experience. A tepid journey.
Bottom line… Jesus is after our hearts. If our hearts are not engaged all we end up being is moral and self-absorbed (self-righteous!). And not really any use for His purposes.
The gauge of our hearts is found when we observe little children… Jesus said THAT is the measure we should use.
The question we must all ask ourselves is: Are we really totally “caught-up” in our love for God and His Kingdom?