I’m going to start this post off with the scripture passage. I could just refer to it but I think it is worth reading. My reflections at the end will be short…promise.
Some people were bringing little children to Him so He might touch them, but His disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me. Don’t stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” After taking them in His arms, He laid His hands on them and blessed them.
As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call Me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good but One-God. You know the commandments: Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; do not defraud; honor your father and mother. ”
He said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these from my youth.”
Then, looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” But he was stunned at this demand, and he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”
But the disciples were astonished at His words. Again Jesus said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
So they were even more astonished, saying to one another, “Then who can be saved?”
Looking at them, Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.”
Peter began to tell Him, “Look, we have left everything and followed You.”
“I assure you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house, brothers or sisters, mother or father, children, or fields because of Me and the gospel, who will not receive 100 times more, now at this time-houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions-and eternal life in the age to come. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Until a few months ago I never put these two stories together. I would read Jesus’ warning to be like children then hit reset on my brain and read the story of the rich young ruler. Seeing them together now one thing becomes painfully clear.
Following Jesus requires humility. To be His disciple means to surrender to Him and become dependent upon Him. If we feel like we have things under control, if we think we have it all figured out, if we believe we can succeed in life by our strength then we shouldn’t call ourselves His followers. The world whispers in our ears, “You are strong. You are rich. Look at that lowly down trodden sap over there; at least you are not as bad off as him.” The world calls us to compare and feel good about ourselves. Only when we realize how helpless we are in life will we be able to receive grace.
Embrace your brokenness. Love your mess. Celebrate your imperfection. Like a child, recognize your dependence on Dad and praise Him for how He loves.
Everything stems from this: our ability to accept and love others without judging them, our passion for the lost, our capacity to forgive, our worship, our very connection to God.