Speaking Of Life 3043 | An Unlikely Object Lesson
I imagine that we have all witnessed the wonder, honesty, and even humor in kids as they grow and develop.
When my son Glenn was three years old, he somehow got away from the family and initially, it caused great fright and concern, but within moments we found him nestled in a corner of the lady's cosmetic section and he was painting his face with bright red lipstick. When my mother heard this story, she reminded me that when I was the same age, she temporarily lost me in the grocery store. She discovered me in the canned vegetable aisle, and I was fixated on a can of Green Giant corn and I was mimicking the giant by repeating the advertisement jingle, “HO, HO, HO Green Giant.” What can I say?
Kids have a way of making every room—pretty much the whole world—their own.
Have you ever tried to “kind of” welcome a child? There are no half-measures when it comes to kids. Once they arrive on the scene, they own it. The whole dynamic changes. Adults might slip in and out of the room, but kids never do.
We see one of Jesus’ interactions with children in Mark 9. The disciples have just finished arguing about who is the greatest, and Jesus gives them an unlikely object lesson:
And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” Mark 9:35-37 (ESV)
In the honor/shame culture of the ancient world, hosting a respectful person at your home brought you honor, which brought status and connections. Children weren’t worth much on the honor spectrum. Better to spend your energy and time on having a great rabbi like Jesus or a rich man to your house.
And here, right in the middle of an argument about honor, Jesus plops a child down in front of them. Runny nose, sticky fingers, constant demands—a child. And he says when you welcome this person—this person who is the least of these, whose only gift is their need—then you welcome him.
When you welcome the inconsequential that’s when you meet Jesus.
Because the presence of Christ can be a bit like that child— occasionally overturning tables, always full of wonder and forgiveness. Jesus changes the dynamic. His values change the gravity. This is what it means to welcome Jesus. He doesn’t play by our rules, he doesn’t follow our plan, but to welcome him is to welcome life.
I’m Greg Williams, Speaking of that Life.