“I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom.”
Jesus, Matthew 18:3, the Message
The more I hang out with little ones, the more I find myself becoming like them. Sometimes it takes a conscious effort, sometimes it’s so easy that I wonder why I am not always like that.
There are several aspects that I like about hanging out with kids (besides their cuteness), but my favorite is simplicity.
We, adults, (and I consider myself a young adult) keep making things more complicated than they are. There are many easier ways out of the situation, but we keep thinking that if we will choose the toughest, it will somehow atone for our mistakes along the way.
To illustrate this point, let me share a story that happened when I was just a kid. I was in second grade and needed help with my math homework. Even though I knew that my mom isn’t exactly a math whiz, I came to her because she was (and is still) smarter than me. I asked her how to solve the problem and she explained to me how the equations work: x, y, and the works. I solved the problem, everything was okay until I came to school the next day and the teacher asked me whether I have done my homework myself. “Nope. My mom helped me.” “I see,” said the teacher. Later on, I understood why she guessed that mom helped me right away. The equations aren’t in the math program until third grade! And when my cousin came over, she said that the problem could be solved much more easily, without equations. Yes, the end result was the same – I got the answer to the problem (and actually was a step ahead of my classmates, who did not yet know how to use equations), but I did not need that way of solving at that moment.
Being with kids makes one stop and think the answer thoroughly, especially when we are talking about spiritual matters. Kids have no idea what proleptic way or entire sanctification means. They don’t know what transubstantiation is. They need simple answers to simple questions. Besides, when we explain something to kids, we might understand the concept we’re explaining in a completely different light – just because we took away all the smart words and phrases and left just the bare truth.
By stepping down the mental ladder and explaining things to kids, we do something like what God did – He came down from Heaven not only to die, but also to explain and SHOW us Himself, to explain Himself to us, give us a tiny glimpse of understanding. Of course, we cannot understand God completely (who needs a totally understandable God?), but He provided a way for us to feel the relationship.
The problems in my life that I encounter can be solved by easy and accessible means without trying to do something supernatural (even though He does provide that as well). Sometimes I forget or think that it’s not enough, that simple answer won’t do… like a prayer. Seems like nothing, when you do not know the entire power of it. Or, to be more correct, the entire power of God to whom the prayer is addressed.
Summing up, that’s what I think Jesus meant when he talked about His followers being like kids – BE SIMPLE!
(There are other implications as well, which I might talk about tomorrow or some other day)…