Childlike Discipleship

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Then he said, "I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven."

Matthew 18:3

When the disciples came to Jesus to ask who was the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, they were expressing the values of their culture. Being honored by others was more important even than life itself. Perhaps the disciples were hoping that Jesus might identify them as the greatest in the kingdom, given how much they had sacrificed to follow him.

How surprising Jesus' answer must have been to the disciples. He didn't identify the most exalted person in the kingdom. Instead, he called them to childlikeness and humility. We enter the kingdom through childlike dependence upon God's grace. We live fruitfully in the kingdom by daily offering ourselves to God in humble submission.

Disciples of Jesus today are not unlike the first who followed him. We also are impressed by greatness, both in the world and in the church. Which of us wouldn't like to meet a famous Christian leader or author or pastor? And, if we're honest, which of us wouldn't like to be thought of as great? So the call of Jesus to childlikeness continues to challenge his disciples to a new way of thinking and living.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you ever get caught up in the race for greatness? When? Why? How do you feel about being like a child in God's kingdom? What helps you to depend upon God fully? What helps you to be truly humble before God and people?

PRAYER: O Lord, in this story I can so easily see myself. Like the disciples, I can get caught up in worldly values. I too can seek my own greatness, either in my accomplishments or in being with people whom others consider great.

So, I must confess that I hear the call to childlikeness at first as a word of rebuke. And I receive this as a word of grace. I need the freedom that comes with a kingdom-based values readjustment.

As I come before you, Lord, may I come as a child: unpretentious, simple, dependent. And as I live my life in the world, may I express genuine humility as I offer myself to you fully, and as I give myself to others in servanthood. Amen.