Greatness in the Kingdom
|At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew18:1-4)|
I think these are nice questions but I don't want to answer them so directly because I think the passage is more about Jesus wanting us to have a spontaneous and uncomplicated relationship with him.
A relationship that doesn't consist of obligations, of ticking the boxes, of doing this or that to please him. He got up the nose of the Pharisees precisely because of this kind of interaction over the kingdom of God or, in this instance, who was the greatest in the kingdom. In a legalistic world, especially of Judaic Pharisaism being able to tick boxes was a sign of holiness, while your heart could be stone cold hard and dead.
Against that horrible image, of a life of obedience but with no love for the one you are claiming to obey; Jesus puts a child in the middle of the group and says, be like this one: children who wear their heart on their sleeve, who cannot hide when they feel love and when they give love and are happy to show their spontaneous joy to those around them, and their innate fear of things that will harm them.
So I'd like to leave you with a few other questions about being like a child with God: when last did you do something quite spontaneous, and for no other reason than the love of God had made you do it? When did you give and not count the cost in some action? When last did you cry before God or with God about some of the horrible things in the world, the evil that makes us unsafe? How often do you express spontaneous and abundant joy in worship, like a child would innocently dance at the sound of music, not being too conscious of what others may think?
Rod Botsis is the minister at Belville Presby, husband to Mandy and dad to Hannah and Rachel.
This brings us to the end of the Month of Mission Devotions.
We hope that they have been a blessing to you.
Here's a final dedication from Chris Judelsohn, convener of the Mission and Discipleship Committee:
It was a shock to receive the news of the sudden passing of the Rev Abraham Nkhata on the 9th of September this year. Abraham was a faithful and hard-working member of the UPCSA's Mission and Discipleship Committee. He also served as the Convener of M&D for the Synod of Zambia and always attended to his tasks as Convener with diligence and excellence.
He was the minister at John Knox Presbyterian Church, Ndola, in the Copperbelt Presbytery and he will be sorely missed by the UPCSA.
On behalf of the Assembly M&D Committee, I would like to dedicate this past month's readings and devotions to Abraham's memory. His wife, Rhoda, and children remain in our prayers. "Well done, good and faithful servant."