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  • Tim Patterson

I don't want to ever grow up

PLYMOUTH – 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 principle has been a great comfort to me because those who know me best have said that I have never grown up. I suffer from PPS. Peter Pan Syndrome. I’m a little child at heart in a grown up and rapidly deteriorating body. Well, the parts that have been replaced are in good shape, but the remaining “stuff” is questionable or makes terrible squeaking noises.

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 Claus and truly 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 can’t tell you how many times these would have come in very handy as negotiating tools where opposing opinions had come to an impasse. I am also still of the opinion that “recess” should still be scheduled twice a day and Saturday mornings should be reserved for cartoons. But like most adults my age, life, and my view from its current perspective, has drastically changed.

That childlike innocence, faith and unquestioning love that once was firm and secure, has 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.

This immovable kind of childlike and loving faith that children possess is reflected in the experience 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 as the transfusion began its miraculous work.

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 his blood in order to save her.

I don’t know about you but I’m a “pretty selfish” individual compared to that brave young boy. 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 want to live my life like God’s Child in a grown-up body. Don’t you?

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13 KJV)



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.


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