I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.
Luke 18:17, NLT*
Have you watched a child receive a gift lately?
If this is an emotionally healthy child, raised with love and care, there’s no doubting, no hanging back. (How many of us as adults stop and ask, “Are you sure?” or say “You shouldn’t have.”)
The child’s eyes light up. If she’s young enough, she likely squeals or bounces up and down. Older, learning the restraint that snares most of us, she’ll still give some subtle hint of excitement.
Hands reach for the gift. Test its weight. Shake it a little, listening for clues. Tear open the paper or pull the tissue from the top of the bag.
If it’s something she likes, the child radiates pleasure. (God is not giving us dental floss or socks – this is the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus is talking about in today’s verse.)
Something the child really likes? She’ll probably take it everywhere, even sleep with it. Tell her friends, show them… maybe share it if it’s not breakable.
The only gift that would go back in the package, shoved in a corner of the closet, would be something she didn’t care about.
But even a child’s favourite gift today would eventually be replaced by a future novelty. Not so the Kingdom of Heaven.
Gracious and loving God, You offer us the Kingdom of Heaven – the best gift of all. The more we explore it, the more we’ll appreciate it. Help us to truly believe it’s for us, to embrace and cherish it. Help us spend the rest of our lives growing in relationship with You and not holding back because we’re afraid to receive.
Here’s an older song from Sheila Walsh: “Growin’ Up to Be A Child” (The video isn’t great, but it’s the only version I could find.) If you listen closely toward the end of the song, you may be surprised to recognize Cliff Richard‘s backing vocals.
*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.