Recently I was watching a group of children playing and adults sharing in conversation and I couldn’t help but to see the teaching moment God presented. I’m always amazed at how children can argue and disagree one minute and then be the best of friends the next. That reality has intrigued me the older I have become. Maybe that is why Jesus said in Mark 10:15 that “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” When you think about that statement, what goes through your mind? One of the most overlooked aspects of a relationship with God is the innocence factor. Children by nature are innocent. They can argue and fuss over simple things but within an instant, they will have made up and nobody would have ever known that things were testy. Now If children can move past such negative experiences with each other, why can’t we as adults?
Jesus reminds us that entering the kingdom of God requires a certain childlike characteristic. He is not idealizing childhood, but instead, Jesus uses children who occupied the lowest status in society, as a symbol for how one should receive the kingdom. The idea of innocence and humility first come to mind. Innocence from the perspective that they don’t come with a bunch of preconceived ideas, theologies and ideologies that contend with the basic tenets of faith. Children don’t come into this world “full of themselves” but they rely and depend on responsible parents to guide them in the correct way of life. Humility refers to the absence of self-exhaltation, or simply put, they are teachable.
The power behind this statement of Jesus for the faith community is that our ability to interpret the life of Christ, is found in our ability to reduce ourselves to having a childlike nature. The innocence of a child leads to the discovery of our Kingdom purpose and the living of our Kingdom identities.