Recently, our two oldest grandchildren spent a few days with us. When their parents came to pick them up, their daddy asked them, "What was the best thing about staying here?" Without hesitation, they both pointed to my husband and me and said, "Being with Nonnie and Papaw!" It melted our hearts.
I had made smiley face pancakes, bacon and eggs, potato soup, fried chicken, and chocolate cake. They drank their fill of chocolate milk and root beer. But what they remembered was being with me. My husband had wrestled on the floor with them, taken them outside to rake and play in the leaves, given over control of the remote. But what they remembered was being with him. We had taken them out to eat and out to the movies. We let them stay up way past their bedtime and sleep as late as the next morning as they wanted to. But what they remembered was being with us. That's why our hearts melted!
As I watched them pull out of their driveway, some words of Jesus popped in my head: "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
That little incident involving the little children and Jesus is recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It's just a little story, really. Some people had brought their children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them. I can just imagine how much Jesus was enjoying being with the children, listening to them giggle with pleasure, watching the gleam in their eyes. I've always wondered if the children recognized the Divine part of Jesus and worshiped Him with their smiles and hugs.
At any rate, the disciples didn't like the children "bothering" Jesus and rebuked the adults who had brought the children to Jesus. But then Jesus rebuked the rebuking disciples (see above quote) and laid His hands on the children, bestowing His blessing before He and the disciples went on their way.
What exactly is it about children that allows the Kingdom of Heaven to belong to them? Is it their childlike trust? Their innocence? Their willingness to learn? Their lack of the more mature murkiness of doubtful skepticism?
Children like to play, giggle, belly laugh. Children love life, are not embarrassed by laughter or hugs, forgive easily. Children are dependent on others, know they are dependent, and are comforted by the dependence. Children know it's not nice to say bad things about people, and children know that bad words are bad and shouldn't be said.
Sounds like a pretty good way to live, doesn't it? In fact, it sounds like a godly way to live, without malice, gossip, jealousy, criticism, eager to spend time with Jesus.
Would that we all be a bit more child-like. Don't you agree?
Verna Davis, author and speaker, writes in Frankton. She can be reached at Vrdspeaks@yahoo.com.