Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. ~Matthew 18:4-5
The late Colonel Sanders (of Kentucky Fried Chicken) was on an airplane when an infant screamed and would not stop even though the mother and flight attendants tried every trick they could think of. Finally the Colonel asked if he could hold the baby. He gently rocked it to sleep. Later a passenger said, “We all appreciate what you did for us.” Colonel Sanders replied, “I didn’t do it for us, I did it for the baby.” (Source: Using Humor for Effective Business Speaking, Gene Perret, http://ministry127.com/resources/illustration/colonel-sanders-and-the-baby)
One of the most striking illustrations Jesus used was that of a little child or children. By making a child the subject of a sermon He preached in Matt. 18, He helps remind us of the importance of children and childlike faith. As we consider what He has to say in this passage of Scripture, let us consider the lessons from a little child.
We see an expensive PREMIUM.
“And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them.” During Jesus’ day, there was a low regard for children. In some cases, children were unwanted and ill-treated. I am brokenhearted when I read news accounts of children that are abused, exploited, or abandoned. Jesus allowed little children to come to Him. He would stop whatever He was doing, and give them a hug. Jesus has a very high regard for children. He set one child in the midst of a large crowd to demonstrate the very high premium He places on their lives. Jesus said, “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.” Jesus loves the little children!
We see an extreme PRIORITY.
The spiritual development and safety of children should be a very high priority of parents, schools, and churches. We must strive beyond getting the attention of a child. Our first and ongoing goal is to get the heart of the child. Solomon told his son, “Give me thine heart.” It is important that children are introduced early in life to Who Jesus is. It is important that children know that they are wanted, and have a special place in our hearts. Time must be allocated daily with them for Bible reading, prayer, fun time, and chores. Our churches must make reaching and retaining children a high priority.
We see an exemplary PRACTICE.
“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.” Children teach us the importance of humility. Children are intimidated around adults. A child in humility obeys well. A child in humility knows that he is very small and somewhat insignificant. Without this type of humility, we are proud and overly conceited about who we are. Children also teach us about faith. Little children have no problem putting their faith in Jesus. However, how many of us as adults have too many preconceived notions, and tend to be doubtful and suspicious when it comes to trusting in the Lord?
We see an exhorted PRECAUTION.
“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” The idea of offending a child means being a stumblingblock to them. We must set a good example before them. We must show them how to love the Lord with all our heart. We must help them grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us be careful that our attitudes do not produce a child that is cynical or, worse, sinful.
Take time the next few days to study the faith and humility of a little child. We might learn some things about us that we will need to change. We also need to pray that we will do more to reach children with the gospel.
Have a humble God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 1 Chronicles 3-5