~~ a devotional ~~
Jesus said, ” . . . except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 18:3). Children accept the world around them. They adapt to whatever conditions they must, and–without even knowing it–they try to help others adapt to those same surroundings if they see someone struggling with this task. They accept others as they are. They may not always accept what others try to put upon them, but they accept the right of others to be different from them. We typically think of children being the ones who need to learn how to live, but we adults could learn a thing or two about life from children.
1 — “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?'”
2 — “And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them,”
3 — “and said, ‘Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.'”
4 — “‘Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'”
5 — “‘And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.'”
6 — “‘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.'”
Matthew 18:1-6 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)”
Referring back to the Tolstoy quote above, which is easier: to change oneself or to change the world? It stands to reason, it is easier to change self and to accept the world as it is. Each of us has control of ourselves, but none has control over anyone else — much less of the world. Why then, does everyone think first of changing the world to suit self? How many people can I summons in an effort to change the world? Would it not be easier for me to just act as a little child might–accepting the things and people around me–since I do not have the right to change them?
In Matthew 18:1 (above) Jesus’ disciples asked Him which of them would be greatest in heaven, and He told them, “. . . to be greatest in the kingdom of heaven, one must humble himself as a little child. . . .” In Matthew chapter 23, verses 9-12 (below) Jesus is speaking to His disciples and to the multitude. He tells them to, “. . . call no man ‘father’ or ‘master,’ for God in heaven is the only One worthy of being called ‘Father,’ and He–Jesus Christ only–is to be called Master.” He went on to say, once again, “. . . he who is greatest among us shall be servant for he who exalts himself shall be brought down, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.'” Thus, those who try to lord it over others will be of little stature in heaven. It will be those who meekly and humbly go about their order of business with others who will be greatest in heaven.
9 — “‘And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.'”
10 — “‘Neither be ye called masters: for One is your Master, even Christ.'”
11 — “‘But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.'”
12 — “‘And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.'”Matthew 23:9-12 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)”
Do you make a habit of ordering others around, or do you prefer to follow and serve? It seems Jesus was telling His disciples it would be those who tend to hover in the background–doing the menial tasks no one else wants to do, serving others, who will be exalted in heaven. Most children seem to automatically understand that cooperative interaction is far better than bossing others. If we–as Christians–would take a little time to sit back and observe children at play, we would see in most of them how we should be interacting with other Christian adults. Thus, “lest we become ‘as little children'” when working with others to further the cause of Christ, we may not be pleasing God in the manner Jesus taught.
Photo Above: by Aaron Burden on Unsplash.com.
Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 18:1-6. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (22 May 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-Chapter-18/.
Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 19:14. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (22 May 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-19-14/.
Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 23:9-12. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (22 May 2022). https://www.kingjamesbible.me/Matthew-Chapter-23/.
Schlottman, Andrea. (2022). books on the wall. “booksonthewall.com.” (22 May 2022). https://booksonthewall.com/blog/leo-tolstoy-quote/.