“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:4)
Last month, I received in the mail several Christmas cards from a group of children I have never met. These cards were covered with colorful drawings of snowmen, stars, trees, and other Christmas things; and filled with Scriptures of support and words of love. I cannot tell you how much this touched me. Among other things, it encouraged me to write this devotion.
The heart of a child is a magnificent thing. Only a child (be it a literal child, or a child of God) could do what these card-sending children have done. Without knowing who I am, without me having done anything to deserve it – they have shown me acceptance and love.
Adults, or at least typical adults, are more cautious with their acceptance and love. Before sending a simple card, most want to know: Who is it for? What has he done? Is it a good idea? Should I trust him? Can this come back to haunt me?
These questions, or ones like them, may only come in a flash, or subconsciously, but they play a part in our ability to accept or love others. They also play a part in our ability to accept or love God.
Children do not know or care about the “deep things of God.” They do not wonder if God exists; or if He does, who is He? They don’t ask what has He done for them (apart from loving them first). They don’t ask if they can trust God; they simply trust Him. God loves me? Ok… then I love Him too.
But adults – adults have been hardened by sin, and so hold on to their love or acceptance if certain criteria have not been met. What sign will you show me, God? When will You deliver me out of this situation? Why do you let me suffer? Are you good? Should I trust you?
“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
It goes beyond our ability as adults to freely give love.
Sin has also affected our ability to freely receive love. You give a child a gift, and they gladly receive it and enjoy it. No questions asked. You give most adults a gift, and they secretly look for the ulterior motive. Why did you give me this? What do I owe you? Do I deserve this gift?
A child does not ask these things. A sin-scarred adult does. God offers His love, His acceptance, His grace and mercy; and we wonder what we can do to pay for it. Why not freely receive it as a child would receive a gift?
After all, was it not freely given? (See Romans 3:24; 8:32; 1 Corinthians 2:12.)
“…freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)