My brother, Dave, has a 5 year old and an almost-2 year old. They are both pretty darned cute kids, although I am of course very biased. I absolutely love watching the way they are with my brother, their dad. There is no question about it, they just trust him.
Leo, the youngest, will literally chuck himself off things knowing that Dave will catch him. No matter the danger, no matter the risk – I’m not sure that Leo even considers those things to be honest. He sees Dave and knows that it’ll all be fine…
“Dad is here, so it will all be ok.”
I reckon that’s how we’re meant to be with God…Dad is here, so it’ll all be ok.
For a little while, I’ve been pondering one of the stories about Jesus in Matthew 19:13-15, all three verses of it:
“Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”. When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.”
So Jesus is doing his thing – ministering to the crowds, teaching about life, telling stories, healing people and all that stuff – and he’s engaged in a discussion with the Pharisees. The elders and teachers had come to try to catch Jesus out and right in the middle of that, these kids turn up seeking a blessing from Jesus.
The disciples, ever the sharpest tools in the shed, try to shoo the kids away. In fact, more harshly than that, they rebuked them – they told the children off for even thinking of coming to ask for a blessing. They tried to send them away.
Jesus, however, calls the children to him and says (interestingly right in the middle of a theological debate with the teachers of the Law) that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these. The Kingdom that Jesus is about to start in motion, about to inaugurate, belongs to people who are like these little children – as opposed to the teachers of the Law.
Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God belongs to people who pursue Jesus, despite what might be in front of them, people who trust that Jesus has something good for them even if people try to prevent them getting to him and people who put their faith in him, with a childlike simplicity.
The Kingdom of God belongs to people who have hearts like a child coming to their Father, who trust him and who want to have a relationship with him rather than simply follow legality. Jesus reminds us that He is about relationships rather than regulations. He wants our hearts and our hands to follow on; both our love, worship, surrender and then our service and action.
And He wants people to trust Him and follow Him; people who step out in faith, chasing the things of His heart, on the basis that we can say “Dad is here, it’ll all be ok”
Soul Action Project Manager