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John Ortberg once posed this question: “Who has greater contentment, a man with seven children or a man with $7 million?” He indicated the correct answer is the man with seven children, because he does not want any more.
A pastor was presenting a children’s time on evangelism to the children. He had a fishing pole and spoke about different types of bait that will attract fish. Then he shared Jesus and said we are to be fishers of men. He asked, “If I was going to fish for men, what kind of bait do you think I should use?” Without hesitation, a young boy shouted out, “Donuts!”
“He (Jesus) called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:2-4)
So, we are to become like little children. How do we balance this with I Corinthians 13? “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” How do we balance these two seemingly contradictory statements of becoming like a child and putting childish ways behind?
And though we are called to maturity, we are also called children of God. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” (I John 3:1)
We adults often have a tendency to complicate Christianity as we mature in our faith. Why is this? This may be because we are trying to impress others with our vast knowledge or our great skill in the mastery of words. As the knowledgeable adult takes over much of the childlike wonder and simple faith may disappear.
“Why don’t you act your age?” is one of the phrases you may hear if you do not follow this so-called adult mold. What does “act your age” mean? This question was asked in a ‘Sociology on Aging’ class, at IUPUI, I took about 30 years ago. What does it mean to “act your age?” We never came up with a definitive answer to that question.
Part of the answer to the question comes to me from the Salvation Army Songbook Song 400(701), “Jesus is my light.” “Why should life a weary journey seem? Jesus is my light and song.”
There are times in life when we all may need a little nudge from friends. I do not mean the knock-over kind or the push to get our way or to press someone down. I am talking about the need for a slight push to get us going on a project or task that needs to get done.
I would call it more of an assistance push which might assist another person to move in the direction they might wish to go. A motivational push might be a more correct term.
My twin granddaughters practiced this in the physical realm ten years ago when they took turns to help push each other around in their Little Tyke car. First one got inside while the other pushed the car and then the roles reversed.
We sometimes also need to receive or give a slight push in order to accomplish a task. The important first push is the one which helps us get moving at the very beginning to get us started. This would include the motivational and directional nudge.
The key objective is to accomplish this push without it seeming like a harsh requirement so people may show less resistance. How do we accomplish this? How can we show or illustrate this initial push in a helpful manner, much like my twin granddaughters illustrated to me?
One way may be to trade places with the person you are trying to motivate. Make the process an equal exchange which leads to a potential win-win situation.
I suggest we begin viewing life as adults, but through younger eyes. It will help us recapture the wonder of what Christ has accomplished and continues to accomplish for us.
And he (Jesus) said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)
— Keith J. Welch is a resident of Holland. He has an MFA in creative writing and is a retired Salvation Army Major. Contact him at [email protected]
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