The kingdom of heaven belongs to the little children. That is something Jesus said. Jesus made it a point to encourage his disciples to receive the kingdom like a child. What does that mean? Here is the text as written in Luke 18:15-17:
“Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’”
A friend of mine recently said to me, “I used to be so passionate and driven. What happened?” I took a moment and thought about it, and then I realized God was trying to tell me something; not only tell me something but also tell my friend something. People do not say these things without a reason. There is always a reason for their statements.
I explained it this way: I think, and this is purely out of my own experience, that as we get older we tend to lose more and more of our childlike qualities because the stresses of reality tend to choke them out of us. We are looking so much at what is happening now, with the bills to pay, the meals we have to prepare, the clothes we have to wash, the friends we think others want us to be, that we do not look at what God has given us and what he wants us to be. Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.” I thought about this a lot, and I believe kids are the happiest when they know someone loves them. Now I know Christ loves us, otherwise he would not have given his life for us like he did. But I also think that somehow, as we grow older and as we try to become more like Christ, we should remember what it was like to be as a child. That means, not worrying about what comes next, but living for God every day in the best possible way we can. How am I making a difference by simplifying my life so that the cares of this world do not choke God’s gift from me.
That was my quick explanation. As I give it more thought, however, I am more inclined to go deeper. Matthew 18:3-4 is Jesus’ answer to his disciples when they were arguing about who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. He said, “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.”
In other words, we have to turn, or have a change in heart, in order to become great in the kingdom of heaven. That change in heart requires having the humility of a child. Of course, we cannot do this on our own. When we come to Jesus and ask for forgiveness for all our sins, he will give us the Holy Spirit to help us have that change in heart.
Let us strive to become more like children, for great will be our reward in the kingdom of heaven.