Tuesday, October 25, 2011

the littlest & the greatest

This morning I read from Matthew 18 and came to verses 3-5 where Jesus says, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever then humbles himself as a little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me..."

It took me a second to process that.  I mean, I've heard or read this passage numerous times before and have probably heard quite a few pastors speak on it but, for some reason, this morning it stood out to me.  I thought back to yesterday morning at church when I was setting up part of our sanctuary and a little girl named Olivia offered to help me.  In fact, she didn't even say "Can I help you?" she just stood there, expectant, smiling, and willing.  The mental image of her sweet face, ready to do anything and everything, causes my heart to melt with her sincerity.  I was struck by how completely sweet and innocent she went about offering her help to me.  She didn't run up expecting to be given a great task.  In fact, I think she knew I would give her small things in order to see what she could handle, but she didn't complain.  She just waited patiently for me to give her directions and then followed through with what I had asked to the best of her ability.

I look back on the whole encounter in light of the passage I read this morning and am overwhelmed by what an amazing analogy it presents to me of how God views and treats us.  When God asks us to come to him as children, it's because He stands above us in a similar position to what I had over Olivia.  I was the one directing her and, therefore, I was the one who would be held responsible for the tasks I asked her to accomplish.  Understanding her age (about 5 years old) and abilities, I would never have asked her to fill up a 60 cup hot water pot and carry it across the room - it would be foolish of me to even think she could accomplish something like that at her age.  But, having seen her attitude toward service and her attention to the smallest details in the simplest things I had given her, by the end of the morning I was confident in asking her to handle a few "more complicated" tasks.  I had seen and observed her and knew she could handle them.

I feel in His own, perfect way God is like this with us.  He observes us where we are and how we handle the smaller tasks He has asked of us and, when He knows we can handle it, He offers us larger, more challenging tasks.

In light of this, I desire to respond like Olivia did.  I want to come to the Lord and wait patiently with an open heart, asking Him to give me what He will - knowing that He wont give me more than I can handle (1 Cor. 10:13).  And then, with whatever He gives me I want to do my best!  Maybe in the future those small tasks will turn into larger ones but the important thing is that, in whatever I do, I do it for His glory (1 Cor. 10:31).  Here's to turning back the clock a little and remembering what it's like, and how humbling it can be, to be a child.