Like a Little Child
Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them. Mark 10:14
The little girl moved joyfully and gracefully to the music of praise. She was the only one in the aisle but that didn’t keep her from spinning and waving her arms and lifting her feet to the music. Her mother, a smile on her lips, didn’t try to stop her.
My heart lifted as I watched, and I longed to join her—but didn’t. I’d long ago lost the unselfconscious expression of joy and wonder of my childhood. Even though we are meant to grow and mature and put childish ways behind us, we were never meant to lose the joy and wonder, especially in our relationship with God.
When Jesus lived on Earth, He welcomed little children to Him and often referred to them in His teaching (Matthew 11:25; 18:3; 21:16). On one occasion, He rebuked His disciples for attempting to keep parents from bringing their children to Him for a blessing, saying, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14). Jesus was referring to the childlike characteristics that ready us to receive Christ—joy and wonder, but also simplicity, dependence, trust, and humility.
Childlike wonder and joy (and more) open our hearts to be more receptive to Him. He is waiting for us to run into His arms.
The wonder of what we see in Mark 10:13–16 becomes more stunning when we understand the connection with what follows in Mark’s gospel. One phrase that links the two sections is “the kingdom of God”—the rule of God in our hearts (see Mark 10:14–15). God’s kingdom (which includes eternal life) is the possession of those who are childlike in their dependence on God. They are the ones who are welcomed by Jesus (v. 16).
On the other hand, we see a full-grown man running unhindered to Jesus, but he ends up leaving Him “because he had great wealth” (v. 22). Three times the phrase “the kingdom of God” is used in verses 17–27. “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (v. 23); “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (vv. 24–25, emphasis added). Simple, childlike trust in Jesus is better than “adultlike” independence and trust in lesser things.
How can you be more like a child in the presence of Jesus?