Lotti’s trust sometimes overwhelms me. My two-year-old granddaughter trusts so sweetly, so completely. As we walk to the top of the stairs after her nap, she grabs my hand instinctively, knowing that I will keep her safe. Her travel down the steps will be okay because Gram’s got a hold of her little hand.
Complete, innocent, pure trust. Childlike trust.
The kind that Jesus taught about in Matthew 18.
Let me set the stage for his amazing teaching. The disciples had just asked him ‘who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ (Interesting question considering who they were asking, right?)
Jesus, in his endless patience, answered by using an example they could understand. He called a child to stand next to him. I can envision the child leaning against his knee, Jesus’ hand laid lovingly on the child’s head or around her little shoulders. He looked down at the child with eyes filled with gentle love. Can you just picture that scene? (Chills!)
Then he turned his eyes to his disciples and said these words:
Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. ~Matthew 18:3-4 [ESV]
The NIV translation uses the word “change” instead of “turn”. Can’t be much clearer, can it? The greatest will be the one who does two things: change and humble themselves.
Jesus knew full well that change would be required for any of us to humble ourselves like a child. It does not come easy to us. We have to change our mindset to truly trust.
When we become humble, we become innocent, knowing we need something more than we can provide ourselves. Just the opposite! We have to trust another.
Changing into a humble child matures us in ways that prideful self-reliance can never do. Our faith expands as we trust God with each step, when we lean on his knee for comfort, when we look to him when we need to get down the stairs.
In our culture, childlike wonder and trust is so frowned upon because it is so misunderstood. It appears weak, immature and incapable. Our drive to be self-sufficient negates any trust in someone else. So it shouldn’t surprise us that the Christian call to humbly trust God like a child would be an uncomfortable idea to many.
But Jesus wants us to mature. To become great in his kingdom. But we don’t get there by being prideful, by being distrustful. We get wise by committing to the basics of an innocent child.
Jesus’ message is clear:
This will make you wise:
change your attitude,
humble your prideful heart,
and trust me.
A childlike nature reflects what we trust when we’re sitting in our chair, laying in our bed, driving our car.
Who is it that will protect and defend me?
Who will be my shelter, my refuge, my strong tower?
Who do I lift my hand up to steady me as I navigate the world?
Do we try to do it all on our own? Or do we trust someone much wiser?
I’m going to follow the wisdom of Lotti. I’ll take the hand of the one who gets me safely down the stairs.
Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011, 2016 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.