“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:1-4
This reading from Monday, January 27, really hit home for me. Jesus is communicating a core element of what it means to be a follower of God and that is our dependence on Him. As babies enter the world they are dependent upon Mom and Dad for literally everything. Even as the babies grow and mature into children they continue to rely on Mom and Dad for most everything including food, shelter, and clothing. I recognize that children eventually begin to complain about the food and want specific clothing but I like to focus on the more innocent days of youth. Most parents strive to provide for their children so that the children do not have to worry about basic necessities including what clothes they are going to wear or what food they are going to eat. Most children I encounter do not contribute financially to the the family and simply are provided for by the work of their parents. They also freely accept the provision that Mom and Dad offer without complaint. (Again I am thinking of pre-teens).
When it comes to my relationship with God do I maintain a childlike faith that recognizes my dependence upon God or do I act as if I can contribute something such as my own acts of righteousness in order to gain God’s favor? This passage reminds us that we need to maintain an attitude of utter dependence upon God, who has made a way for us to be in a relationship with Him. We often try to earn the favor and praise of others through our actions and accomplishments and yet God wants us to come to Him in utter dependence contributing nothing but our pure and sincere faith that God loves us and accepts us and has made a way for us.
Salvation at its core is the recognition that as human beings we need God. Because of our sin we are unable to take steps toward God and yet, graciously God has taken a giant step toward us. God, the creator of the universe (including humanity), has made a way for us to be in an eternal relationship with Him through Jesus. What a gift for us. Let us all remember to approach God as innocent faith-filled children who simply accept what is offered.