This verse was in a daily reading recently, and it suddenly struck me – does God really want us to be like children in our faith? Unthinking and undiscerning? Surely not! Then I started to ponder what really occupies the mind of a small child – and also, what does not occupy a child’s mind, at least in a stable and loving home. Of course, some of us did not have a home like this, but we’re thinking for a moment about an ideal home.
Does a small child think about being loved? Not often! It's just a part of life, taken almost for granted.
Does a child think about constant care and protection? Not at all! They are simply there, in place. If you need urgent help, just call and help comes running.
Does a child think about the provision of a home, clothes or meals? Not at all! They are simply there, in place. They are just part of life, like breathing.
So what then does a child notice or think about? It’s the things which require an action or a change in attitude, like education or discipline.
A child also notices and appreciates the things which make life enjoyable. Praise. Gifts. Celebrations such as birthdays or Christmas. Holidays. Games. Friends. And of course, quality time spent with parents.
Something very special for a child is to be with a parent while the parent does something, just to watch them, maybe to "help" even though not fully understanding. Maybe going for walks together. Or sitting on a lap, and hearing a story. All of these strengthen the place of the child in the family. The child will not forget them.
So, what can we learn about the words of Jesus in Mark 10:15 from this? We are not to wonder if God loves or cares for us (Luke 15). Neither should we be anxious about what we eat or wear. (Matthew 6:31). But we must learn to notice if God is teaching, correcting or disciplining us. Most importantly, we have to spend constructive quality time with our Heavenly Father. Then we will truly enter the Kingdom of God – like a child.
Prayer: Father, I want to be truly Your child. Show me how to recognise the things that you are doing in my life, and draw me closer to spend more quality time with You – watching as You work, following You to new places, understanding Your discipline, and listening as You speak. In Jesus’ name – Amen.
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