Be Still Know
Matthew 18.3-4 NLT
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
These words would have sounded very different to the disciples from how they sound to us these days. Happily children have a very important and protected place in our society. We rightly pour enormous energies and resources into ensuring that children are given every opportunity to thrive and that they are brought up in a safe environment. The situation could hardly have been more different in Jesus’ day when children had no status or protection in law, and were seen as no more than potential adults. They were to be seen but certainly not heard. For the disciples to be told that the only way into the Kingdom of Heaven was by becoming like a child would probably have sounded insulting and certainly deeply shocking.
The disciples were desperately concerned about their status and power and Jesus’ intention was to show them that entry into God’s Kingdom depended on the exact opposite. They needed to walk the path of humility and that is still our calling today. George Bernard Shaw once wisely observed, “The church must learn humility, as well as teach it.” It’s all very well to recognise Jesus’ humility and his teaching on the subject but we need to walk that path and that comes no more easily to us today than it did to the disciples. We all like to feel that we are important and to feel secure with our identity. But Jesus invites us to turn the attention away from ourselves to others. Our motivating questions need to be, “How can I best serve the people around me? How can I care for them and show God’s love to them?” Humility is not about trying to convince ourselves that we are nobodies and of no significance. That isn’t true. We are made in God’s image and loved by him for all eternity. But we are called to a life which focuses away from our selfish preoccupations, and upon the needs and aspirations of others.
Question: In what way does Jesus’ teaching on humility challenge you?
Prayer: Lord God, teach me what it means to live humbly today. Amen
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