I was going to my car last week when one of my neighbours came out with her recycling. Her son was helping her and carrying a milk churn looking thing with food scraps in it. He was under 5 and struggling to carry this container which was probably a third his size. But he managed and I chuckled and said, “I need you to come help in my house.” He came over, took my hand and started to lead me to my house obviously taking me at my word. His poor mum had to try and detach him and get back to her jobs in her house. As I drove off he was still tugging to try and do what I had asked and I was apologising profusely to his mum.
This morning I read in Mark 10 about children and a young man who came to Jesus.
Parents brought their little ones and though the disciples tried to discourage them, Jesus welcomed them and enfolded them in His arms as he blessed them. Soon after a young man comes and wants Jesus to tell him how to live. Jesus loves him and tells him straight but the young man goes away sad – sick at heart.
I considered these two encounters and thought of the difference between them and it came to me that Jesus says the same thing in different ways.
14 but when Jesus saw this, He was incensed.
Jesus (to the disciples): Let the children come to Me, and don’t ever stand in their way, for this is what the kingdom of God is all about.15 Truly anyone who doesn’t accept the kingdom of God as a little child does can never enter it.
Incensed – Jesus was not happy, he was sorely afflicted, displeased, indignant, grieved because people were stopping those children who were coming to Him. Picture these children coming to Jesus as you read the next words.
21 Then Jesus, looking at the young man, saw that he was sincere and responded out of His love for him.
Jesus: Son, there is still one thing you have not done. Go now. Sell everything you have and give the proceeds to the poor so that you will have treasure in heaven. After that, come, follow Me.
22 The young man went away sick at heart at these words because he was very wealthy, 23 and Jesus looked around to see if His disciples were understanding His teaching.
Jesus (to His disciples): Oh, it is hard for people with wealth to find their way into God’s kingdom!
The little boy in my introduction was happy to come with me without thought of anything he had at home: chocolate cookies, tv show, toys even mum. Children are like that, they follow their hearts, they follow the impulse and though that sometimes leads to danger they are enthusiastic, whole-hearted and willing. They aren’t bound up with possessions, commitments, needs and wants they see something, it interests them and they drop everything to pursue it.
Sadly that phase doesn’t last too long – because we teach them otherwise. We teach them that things matter and people don’t. The young man was sincere, he really really wanted to know how to get eternal life – until he saw the cost and all those things he possessed and cared about dug their claws in and made his heart sick. I think Jesus is incensed at those things that stop us coming to Him like a child. There are some things that do just make Him angry and although He is not angry with us He does let us know those things that displease Him and get in the way.
I want to be like the child uncaring of the things around me that hamper and hinder, to be just interested in what God is holding out for me, offering me, inviting me too. Scary? Yes but only if I don’t have that childlike trust. If I trust like a child then it’s just exciting. If I trust like a child, react like a child then I am just going with Dad.