Matthew 18: 1-3 “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Become like a child. How? Adults are hardened in their ways and they know everything don’t they? Besides, children are naive, weak, impetuous, ignorant, etc. Why would I want to be that? Haven’t I already grown up and learned from being a child how to be an adult? This Jesus guy sure is a bit odd.
Children see things from a very different perspective. I remember being a child and going to Disneyland. The entire spectacle seemed enormous, otherworldly, and awe inspiring. As an adult going back I saw things very differently. The rides were not so fast, the buildings were not so tall, and the inspiration so not so much there anymore. In a sense Disneyland was rather ho-hum.
But God’s creation is anything but mundane. I think that is what Jesus is getting at when he says we must be more like children. We need to be inspired and even slightly overwhelmed by this incredible universe in which we have been blessed to live. Moreover, that excitement and inspiration will cause us to constantly be thankful and excited to absorb everything we can from it. It is when we stop being awed that we begin to take it all for granted choosing cynicism over enthusiasm.
After having completed our mini-vacation in Byxelkrok we made our way back to Hanne and Christian’s home in Karlskrona. We made a point to stop again in Kalmar this time at the Kalmar Slott, a four hundred year old castle. There was an immersive Van Gogh exhibit being held within the castle which Sara and I were excited to see. The kids tolerated the 40 minute program which was by my account fantastic. We toured the castle a bit and then grabbed a bite to eat at the cafe across the street. Then it was off to Karlskrona and just in time for a quick dinner with Hanne and Christian.
After we put our respective progeny to bed we retreated to the back deck for some wine and beer and fellowship.
This opportunity to just chat was the whole reason we were so excited to come to Sweden for this visit. We missed our friends very much and having time to spend a few hours conversing is all the reason in the world to be here. Christian reminded me of this Bible passage with his comments about his family’s home here. He somewhat jokingly remarked that he didn’t understand why he was so lucky to be here, living in this beautiful home along the Baltic Sea. I remarked that I appreciated his humility and more importantly his gratefulness. That is one thing that I have really noticed on our travels, that the people we have met seem completely content with what they have and are grateful for it. Unlike so many of the people we have met in the United States (and admittedly ourselves) who conversely are always looking for the next best thing, seemingly uneasy with what they have because it is never enough. Here they are content with what the have and will take whatever they get. I think that is what Jesus wants from us, to be grateful for what we have and to be inspired about the greatness that abounds. There is no need to ask for more because God knows what we need already and will provide if we ask and are thankful. Children rely completely on their parents for nourishment, safety, and well being. I hope that I will remember my need to be like a child of God, reliant on Him for all my needs.