People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16
The disciples thought that Jesus had more important things to do than minister to snot nosed kids. After all, they’re so juvenile. They don’t merit the attention of an important teacher .
Here’s a picture that’s gone viral this week. It’s a professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem who picked up a baby who was crying during his class, and kept on teaching. People LOVE that this professor would care for the child, instead of sending the little one out of class so he could continue his lecture. The professor had a different set of priorities. The child was important.
What is important to us? Are we like the disciples? Are some people more important than others?
As Ken and I were praying this morning, he remembered in prayer that it was not the rich influential impressive people Jesus reached out to. It was the common man. Ken prayed this because we had just had a challenging night of service to someone whose life is a bit messy. We had to remind ourselves that this is the kind of person Jesus ministered to — those who have one hardship after another, those we would look at and say, “They need to get their life together!”
We get so self important. We get so tied up in our busy lives that we can forget what is really important.
I have been reading “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty. I thought this paragraph from the book was such a great description of people today —
“Mothers took their mothering so seriously now. Their frantic little faces. Their busy little bottoms strutting into the school in the tight gym gear. Ponytails swinging. Eyes fixed on the mobile phones held in the palms of their hands like compasses.”
In the book, when someone would ask one of the mothers how they were, they would always reply, “Busy. Frantic!”
Our lives are slammed with things we think are essential to do.
By contrast, I drove through the neighborhood yesterday afternoon and saw a group of children playing on a long stretch of lawn. It looked idyllic. They weren’t consumed with all they had to do. They were focused on the now.
We need to be more like children.
I was with my grandchildren this past weekend on Mother’s Day. At the end of our time, I told my grandson, barely three, that it was time for us to go.
“I don’t want you to go,” he said.
Then I told my five year old granddaughter goodbye. She said the same thing. “But I don’t want you to go.”
Kids don’t care about schedules or things that need to get done. They care about relationships. They want to be with their friends, their loved ones.
Is that the way I am?
Last night at house church we talked about how we need to love one another as Jesus did. And it occurred to me — Jesus was only able to love a few people well. To show what love is, he focused on 12 disciples, and a few others, like Martha, Mary and Lazarus.
And I thought, I can do that. I can focus on loving a few people well.
I let myself get so busy. I spread myself so thin. But when I realize that Jesus focused his time on a handful of individuals, it makes me see that I CAN make people the priority. It’s not overwhelming.
We need to make time for one another.
But what about God? Do we have time for Him?
Because God has things He would like to tell us, if we would slow down and listen.
I love to watch birds at my birdbath. I fill it every day, so they have a fresh supply of water.
It gives me such pleasure to see the birds perch on the edge and take a long drink, or jump in and wriggle and ruffle their features in blissful enjoyment.
God has water for us, wisdom ready for the taking. It makes Him happy when we come to him, when we listen.
Listen in the quietness of prayer, not besieging Him with petitions, but waiting for His voice.
Listen for His will, His agenda, not our own.
Listen to pick up what He is teaching us through life.
Listen to hear what is really important.
It’s strange. We have to block out all the things that seem important to be able to hear the things that are really important.
And somehow a child knows what’s important. Somehow as we become adults, we forget it.
How is it that growing up has made us more selfish rather than less?
Today I went and visited an elderly lady who’s in hospice. It felt meaningful. It felt important. As I left, I took her hand in mine and prayed with her. “Thank you, you’re so sweet,” she said.
She wasn’t a child, but it’s the same thing Jesus was talking about. The elderly are often demoted.
Let’s take the “children” in our arms and bless them. Let’s take time for the stranger, for the casual acquaintance.
And those who are close to us, may we love them really well.