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Learning About Greatness from Our Grandchildren

GRANDPAUSE: He is truly great who is little in his own eyes and makes nothing of the highest honor.  -Thomas à Kempis

The teacher asked the class to name one important thing we have today which we didn’t have ten years ago. Susie’s hand darted up. Her enthusiastic reply was, “Me!”  Can you imagine our heavenly Father bursting out in boisterous laughter and bellowing an enthusiastic “Amen!” upon hearing little Susie’s response? I can!

I believe children hold a special place in the Father’s heart, and reaching out to the children around us is a reflection of His heart. In my next few posts I want us to journey with Jesus as He reveals the Father’s heart for children to His disciples…and the connection between them and greatness in the kingdom. Our text will be Matthew 18:1-14.

As grandparents the blessing these precious little ones are to us is self-evident. But do we understand our responsibility to be a conduit of blessing and grace to them? Even if you are not a grandparent, Jesus’ words in this passage need to be heard carefully and put into practice straightaway. The things He says to us about our responsibility to the children around us must not be taken lightly, for they are most precious to the Father. Grandparents should understand this above all.

Notice how this whole discussion about children began with a question about greatness in the kingdom of heaven. While undoubtedly made in earnest, I suspect the question posited by Jesus’ disciples may not have sprung from a spirit of humility. So Jesus called a small child to come and stand among them. He then made this startling statement: Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (vs. 4).

He makes no mention of great achievements, popularity or fame, or even who sacrificed the most to follow Jesus. Only those whose lives reflected the humility of a child—qualities of helplessness and utter dependence upon others, an unfettered trust, an eagerness to forgive, and an untarnished sense of wonder—are considered great in God’s kingdom. Prefaced by this unexpected standard, Jesus told the disciples they must “change”; implying they were headed in the wrong direction in the first place. How were they to change?  By becoming like little children.

Our grandchildren are not impressed by our achievements or accolades. They don’t care how much we know or the positions we hold. We bless them when they know they are loved, cherished and treated as valued members of the family. They are more likely to be awed by our willingness to admit we are wrong than proving we are right. Our humility will show them more about Jesus and the Gospel than our Bible knowledge.

Do you want to be great in God’s kingdom? Become like a little child. And by the way, as we shall see next time, the Father especially blesses those who bless His little ones.

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