Read Matthew 18:1-14
It is interesting to see how adults respond to children. While a parent or grandparent dotes over every little thing the “cutie-pie” does, others may roll their eyes in disgust over the latest interruption of the “little nuisance.” That mindset is nothing new. Even the disciples objected as children were brought to Jesus. Instead, Christ made clear that they were the object of His love. (See Matt. 19:13-15.)
In today’s reading, Jesus uses a child as an object lesson. That’s right. A child is the very example of kingdom greatness. In humility, children make no pretenses of meriting the approval and love of an adult. And yet, in simple, trusting dependence, they surrender themselves completely into the loving care of the adult. True greatness is portrayed in the fact that they allow the adult to throw them into the air, fully confident that the same adult will catch them. True greatness is pictured in the fact that they see the adult as the one who can meet their every need. Children remind us of the kind of Christ followers we should be.
Meanwhile, children also remind us of the kind of loving care that believers receive. Believers have both a loving father and angelic servants that are looking out for them. This deep-seated concern is portrayed in a parable of a shepherd and one hundred sheep. When one of the sheep goes astray, the shepherd does not simply say, “Oh, well. At least I still have ninety-nine.” Instead, it was obvious to both the shepherd and Christ’s listeners that the shepherd would comb the mountainside and the valleys in search of the lost sheep. When the shepherd and sheep are reunited, the dominant response of the shepherd is not disgust that the sheep had wandered but the joy that it had been found.
Trusting dependence . . . that is the picture of the follower you should be.
Loving protection . . . that is the picture of the kind of care you receive.
“Thank You, Abba Father, that you welcome me in Your presence and watch over me in Your love. Oh that my trusting dependence would grow today!”