Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. (Matthew 18:5 NRSV)
In childhood Jesus found the perfect analogy for membership in the Kingdom. Not in childishness, but child-likeness. A good many sermons have been preached about this young lad, declaring that what Jesus wanted people to emulate was the supposed "innocence" of childhood. Every parent (and grandparent) knows that "the innocence of childhood" is a myth. Children are not all that innocent!
But they have some endearing qualities that caused Jesus to single them out as object lessons for disciples--and for us. The one quality which I wish to single out is enthusiasm, or spontaneity. Adults are careful and calculating. Children tend to jump right in, feet first, unafraid. They act on impulse, and that isn't all bad. Someone once said: "Distrust first impulses. They are nearly always right." But another has said, "Don't look before you leap. If you do, you will decide to sit down." There is, among too many of us, such a careful, cautious attitude toward our religious faith that we hesitate to take the bold action, make the bold and daring move. But the child-like spirit is one of daring to take risks...not knowing it is impossible, they are willing to try to do it anyway!
Dear God, may I have a childlike boldness of doing what you call me to do. In Jesus name, Amen.
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