Still So Petty
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16
Sitting in church, I had to admit I was feeling less-than-holy. I had hoped to have a deeply spiritual worship experience that morning. True-to-form, I was expecting perfection in an imperfect world. After having carefully selected our seats, I was dismayed to hear a dad and his two young children file into the row right behind us just as the services started. The worship was deeply moving, but during the prayers all I could hear was the sound of papers rattling and children talking – not even whispering! But (thankfully) I resisted the very uncharitable urge to turn around and look. As they ignored our worship leader’s announcement that it was time for those with small children to take them to children’s church, I felt the last thread of hope for a quietly holy worship experience evaporate. As I sat there and stewed, I felt a gentle check in my spirit and realized I was in danger of becoming one of those judgmental church-lady clichés. Concentrating hard and taking notes, I actually was able to glean some nuggets from the sermon, in spite of the racket that continued behind me.
As the final song played, I heard God’s silent whisper, “Children are Jesus’s favorite. Maybe that dad needed to hear this sermon even more than you wanted to hear it? Maybe this is his first time visiting and he did not know what to do about children’s church, or perhaps he was hesitant to leave his children in the care of strangers?” I bowed my head and asked forgiveness for my crummy attitude, ashamed I could still be so petty, and even judgmental, after all I have been forgiven. Remembering the story of the disciples trying shoo the children away from Jesus was some small solace for the disappointment I was feeling in myself. It did help, though, to know I wasn’t the only one. I guess guilt loves company. I made sure to turn around and give that dad and his precious children a great big welcoming smile as we were leaving, thankful at that moment he could not see the ugliness within that I had experienced just moments earlier. I guess God taught me a pretty good lesson that morning, after all!
Jesus loves all of His children, the young, the old, the healthy, the sick, the ones trying to be holy, and those currently immersed in sin...even the judgmental ones. If we call to mind the very lowest moments of our lives - those flashbulb moments when we were so saturated with sin, we were nearly unrecognizable - those are the moments that Jesus loved us so much He was willing to die to save us. Those moments, along with all of our other moments make up each life that Jesus thought worthy of sacrificing Himself to redeem.
Jesus loves the little children;
All the children of the world!
Red and yellow, black and white;
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world. (Lyrics by George Frederick Root)
Prayer: Father God, thank You for forgiving me, again & again, when I fail You. Help me to love others as authentically as You love each of Your children, and help me shine the light of Your love into each life I encounter today, in Jesus’ name, amen.
“People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:15-17
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31
“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:35-38