We Can Learn Much from a Child
As I spent time over Christmas watching my kids full of joy at the sight of their gifts, I thought about the joy the Lord has given us to enjoy at church. Children are needed to give the church life and energy and their laughter is infectious. With their joy for the simple things in life, it is no wonder that Jesus speaks of having faith like a child:
Luke 18:16-17, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."
Why do we have to become like children if we are to enter into God’s presence? What is so special about having faith like a child? How can we make sure we are a church that is not hindering children from knowing God?
Children can be described in one word: playful. Playfulness is part of everything they do and research has shown that children learn about themselves and make sense of the world around them through play. Play is a way of releasing the joy inside of us and celebrating the things around us. It is an act of not taking things too seriously and it is a way of breaking down barriers that divide each of us.
Children are very good at playing with others, even when they do not like them, for playing together has a way of breaking barriers and finding some fun, common ground. We can learn much from children and Jesus knew this, using their example of playfulness to describe our relationship to God. God wants us to enjoy our lives and to find joy and celebration in the things around us He has created. We are to be content with what we have and be comfortable being the unique person God created.
Children accept the fact that there are people who love them and want to see what is best for them, which is simple trust. Children also accept authority more easily than adults and that God is the boss, because He is the Creator. A child-like faith is trusting in God and in those around us. It really is that simply, but we as adults have a hard time looking past the shortcomings of others to play with them. Children forgive and forget very easily and move on together to the next toy or other fun project.
Children's faith is simple because of their active imagination where nothing seems to be impossible. They easily believe in things they cannot see and they are satisfied with things they do not understand or that do not make logical, rational sense. As we know, imagination is a huge part of play and just because we cannot see things right now, does not mean they do not exist. I believe God has given us children at this church to remind us of our need to play, that we all need to remember to not take life too seriously. It is also a reminder of the simple faith God wants from His believers; to believe without seeing and to trust without having all the answers.