Matthew 18:2-4 (NIV) 2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
The disciples had asked about who was greatest in the kingdom of heaven. They probably expected to hear that Moses or Elijah or some other great Old Testament figure was. It must have been shocking when Jesus took a child and stood him in their midst and set him up as the model. I’m sure the child was speechless along with the disciples.
Jesus said that they had to become like little children to even enter the kingdom. What did we lose in growing up? Jesus tells us in the next statement. It is the humility of a little child that qualifies one for greatness. As we grow into young men and women we think we know it all. It takes the rest of our lives to realize we had it right when we were little children utterly dependent on others to teach and instruct us.
Jesus modeled this childlike humility. He did nothing but what His Father showed Him. He made no judgments on His own but that which the Father determined. He even depended on the Father to show Him what to say and how to say it. Once we realize how little we know, how easily we are deceived, and how much we need to rely upon the Spirit of God for making any correct decisions, we should become like that little child. That is why broken leaders make the best leaders. They realize their fallibility. The analogy of sheep teaches the same lesson. Face it; we are dumb, vulnerable, and cannot care for ourselves. Once you realize that, you have become poor in spirit and the kingdom of heaven is yours.
Meditation: Greatness lies in being lowest, not highest.
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