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Friday, July 8, 2016
Today’s Reading | Matthew 18:1-5
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." (NRSV)
Like the disciples, we are all-too-often concerned about who has status and power and how to get it. Furthermore, when I think about who I consider “great,” or who I want to become, I confess I don’t exactly envision a toddler covered in spaghetti. Jesus’ answer turns the question upside down—it’s almost comical.
So what does it mean to “become humble” like a child?
Jesus never gets very specific, which means there are many possible answers (one of the things I love about this passage), but what is clear is that the challenge to become humble like children requires a change of both perspective and status. Not just how the world sees us, but how we see the world.
Ten months ago my wife and I welcomed our son, Callum, into the world. He has changed the way we see everything. It is infectious to watch him when he is curious about something. I love watching him learn how to use his body, discover his voice, and interact with everyone and everything around him—the world is full of wonder, and his focus is outward, away from himself. I know children aren’t always pure, selfless creatures, but for us right now, Cal is a daily reminder of the innate humility in children, and it sheds a much-needed light on my own stubborn self-importance.
This is why children and youth are so important, whether we realize it or not. In times of darkness—as we become jaded grown-ups, numb to the world—we need them to remind us that innocence and joy and trust still remain. We need that balance. We need them as much as they need us.
Thank you, God, for reminding us that our idea of greatness is not what it seems. Thank you for children and the opportunity we have to rediscover life through them. Amen.
Written by Jeremy Pfaff, Editorial Assistant
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