“Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all” (Mark 10:15).
A friend and spiritual sparring partner asked me if I remembered the verse where Christ wanted us to act as a child when receiving the Good News. As I though about it more, I wondered what it was that Jesus was getting at. Becoming a father has been one of the best experiences of my life. Seeing how my kids grow and learn and play is truly awe-inspiring. As I pondered this verse, I thought about my kids and what it is about the way that they receive things that Jesus could be alluding to. Perhaps it is this: When my son was just a little younger we were buying him presents that were supposedly the best for development. We would buy the V-Tech/Baby Einstein/Learning whatever toy that lit up, sang songs, played games, used shapes and colors, and was designed to inspire learning and cognitive development. These toys are great, and perhaps they do work as he is so smart he surprises me every day. But one day stands out in my mind.
We were at the store and I was showing him all these various toys and seeing if he was interested. Using reaction and attention alone (since he didn’t talk yet), I would let him play with each thing and observe his reaction. After going through exciting toy after exciting toy, the item he wanted and would not stop playing with was a blue Frisbee. It was light blue with some silver lightning bolts on it. Nothing fancy; not even the fun one with the cone in the middle so you could spin it on your finger like a pro. He loved this thing. He waved it around and put it on his head. He banged it on the cart and played with it all the way home. At home it was more Frisbee time. I have pictures of his excitement with this thing.
This made me think. What was it about his excitement over this Frisbee that I didn’t understand? Perhaps it was the lesson that it is not the bells and whistles that make something great. Instead, it is the simplicity in the joy that it brings. When we look to Christ, He does not say that He will come back with bags of cash and flat screen TVs for everyone. We do not picture heaven as rolling around in sports cars and playing video games while wearing more jewelry than Mr. T. What there is in Christ is love. Plain and simple, pure love. Some of my favorite modern images of Christ are where He is hugging someone. There is nothing more assuring of someone’s care for you than a sincere hug. Not a half-sided, pat on the back hug, but a loving embrace that tells you that you are what matters. These are the hugs that I get from my son when I come home from work. Yes, sometimes I have to ask for one real quick in the midst of his excitement to tell me about something, but the hugs are always genuine.
Receive the gift of God like a child, like a gift that a loving parent has given you, and see the worth in it. Not based upon the cost or the cool new features, but based on the love that gave it to you and the simplicity of receiving a gift. Kids are always excited for a present. It doesn’t matter if it is a piece of candy, a coin, or a rock. The fact that a gift was given to them makes whatever it is the best thing on earth at that moment. So when you hear that Christ gives Himself to you (and thereby gives the Kingdom of God and all that comes with it), you should be as excited as a child receiving a present. A big hug should follow.
Tags » faith, God, jesus, love, simplicity