FENTON, MI – I have often thought about Jesus’ words; "Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." (Mark 10:15 KJV).
At times that has been a great comfort to me because those who know me best have said that I have never grown up. I’m a little child at heart in a grown up and rapidly deteriorating body.
If I had it my way, I would play all day, eat junk food and sleep until I wanted to rise. I would still believe in Santa Clause and really want birthdays to come around. If I could get away with it, I would keep a good supply of water balloons in one of my filing cabinets just in case a need for them might arise. I am also still of the opinion that “recess” should still be scheduled twice a day and Saturday mornings should be reserved for cartoons. I hold that the Roadrunner and Bugs Bunny are classic actors that rank among the leading men of Hollywood today.
I still get a kick out of riding bikes, but today I like the kind with big motors and the name Harley Davidson emblazoned on their tanks. If I weren’t afraid of breaking some ribs, as did my father-in-law, I would have a Slip-N-Slide permanently installed in my backyard. I like going to movies, but I miss the cartoon features that precede the major attraction, and I am highly disappointed that they have been replaced by commercials. I get enough of those on broadcast television.
But like most adults, my life and its perspective has drastically changed. That childlike innocence, faith, and unquestioning love have been tainted by time and the frailty of fallen humanity. Thank goodness there are still children in this world. Children who still love unconditionally and trust totally. Children who believe what they are told and see life simply.
The kind of childlike and loving faith that children possess are reflected in the life of one such child. Some years ago, a little girl named Liz was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease, and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.
The doctor explained the situation to her little brother and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. He hesitated for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes, I’ll do it if it will save her.” As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, seeing the color return to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?” Being just a child, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a pretty selfish individual. I want to think that I would do the same thing for someone else, but could I? Or would I if I could?
When I see life from the eyes of a child then I begin to better understand our Lord’s admonition to become as a little child. He was God’s child in a grown-up body. Oh, how I need to be a child again. Not childish, but childlike. I believe my Father would really enjoy that as so would I.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13 KJV)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.