Read Matthew 18:1-3
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked,”Who,then,is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 He called a little child to him,and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you,unless you change and become like little children,you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (NIV)
When some commentators interpret verses such as this they start waxing lyrical about the innocence and humility and even obedience of children. Which just goes to show how little they have experienced children! When Jesus asks us to become like children it is not such qualities he has in mind. Children are not always innocent or humble or obedient.
It is more their utter dependence on others that he has in mind. Their comparative helplessness. They haven’t got things figured out; they have to trust that others will look after them; they have no power. Such childlikeness opens us up to the resources of Jesus,opens us up to trust in him and not ourselves.
But he may be suggesting more. Children haven’t yet grown up: they have a lot of growing to do. They haven’t arrived at maturity. They are a work in progress. So it is with the follower of Jesus. To become a disciple is to come to the realisation that we have much to learn,we are on a journey,we haven’t grown up yet.
Beware of the seductive messages promising overnight maturity. Remember we are children,and children don’t become adults overnight.