THE LITTLE PEOPLE
Thank You, God, for loving me no matter what!
Read Matthew 18:1–9
The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven
18 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. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
Causing to Stumble
6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! 8 If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink about an instance when someone blessed you with undeserved, unconditional love. How did this make you feel?
The disciples’ question (1) reveals their preoccupation with the pecking order in God’s kingdom. Jesus focuses on a far more fundamental question—how they are to enter the kingdom (3).
In Bible times, children occupied the bottom rung in the ladder of significance. They enjoyed no rights and laid no claim to greatness of any kind. To “change and become like little children” (3) involves a simple, childlike acceptance of God’s grace, despite our inability to earn or merit it. The more we understand God’s undeserved love for us, the more we can cultivate the grace of humility that Jesus so highly prizes (4).
The “little ones—those who believe in me” (6) isn’t a reference just to children, but encompasses all who exercise this childlike faith. Each of these “kids” in his kingdom are infinitely precious to Jesus (5). See how jealously he defends his children: “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble!” says Jesus (7). But often the fault lies with us (8,9); what “stumbling blocks” do we allow in our lives that get in the way of childlike devotion to Jesus?
Do you come to God with plans and logic, or do you come to him openly trusting in what he can do? How can you become more like his child today?
Abba, Father, help me to receive the outpouring of Your love, with childlike wonder, delight and a heart full of thankfulness.