People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16))
This morning’s “Upper Room” devotional verse comes from this passage in the Gospel of Mark. For some reason, the moment I read it I thought about a short news abstract from the front page of today’s Raleigh N&O. Apparently a Triangle area library had been evacuated for several hours in response to “A vague threat that something might happen there.”
The phrase seemed to capture – for me – the huge divide between the abundant life Jesus promises (“more and better life than you ever dreamed of!”), and the reality of how we tend to live as Christians. How about:
- “This weekend the First Methodist/Baptist/Presbyterian/Lutheran Church was evacuated for several hours in response to a vague threat that something might happen there…”
- Or, “Several men had been thinking about joining a Bible-study group, but then backed out at the last-minute after realizing that Jesus was scheduled to show up too, and something might happen…”
- Or, “So and so became nervous about his faith and took a huge step back, because of a vague threat that [when he prayed] something might happen…”
CHILD-LIKE FAITH: One of the cool things about child-like faith is the sense of living in constant anticipation that – “Yay!” “Woot!” and “Whoop-de-do” – “Something might happen!!!”
“Children,” Rebekah said a sermon several years ago, “tend to respond to life with both hands wide open; whereas the rest of us often walk around with clenched fists – defensively – unwilling and consequently unable to receive the gifts, the opportunities, and the blessings.”
Children live in the joyful anticipation that “something might happen here!” Whereas too many of us live in a state of defensiveness, guarding against and precluding the “vague threat that something might happen…”
It’s another new day; we’re about to begin a beautiful weekend; God has so much in store! Do you remember the excitement and sense of anticipation that flooded our spirits at Easter?
So what are we going to do? Are we going to rededicate our lives to God and follow Jesus? Or are we going to respond like so many guarded and defensive people, and take a big step back in response to “a vague threat that something might happen here…”?
If you have the courage to live with both hands open, and to believe the promise of Easter, then I’ll see you in church on Sunday – DEREK