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Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 18:3’

Jo 12Whenever we mind our two young grandchildren after school at their home, we go armed with various games, plus something yummy for afternoon tea, of course! On top of that, they have an amazing variety of games and toys and books of their own available. There is a great playground nearby where we can head too. And another option is watching TV, but it is rarely one they choose. Anyway, we can never find the remote!

Each week, we wonder what game or idea will grab them. Will our grandson tackle the ‘Expert’ level of our own son’s ‘Rush Hour’ puzzle again? Will he want to increase his skills at Chinese Checkers, a new game to him? Will our granddaughter beat me at Uno again or play that old card game ‘Donkey’? Or will she want to play ‘Trouble’, a morphed version of Ludo that we loved to play as children?

This past week, however, I was floored when our granddaughter Maxine did not want to do or play anything we suggested. Instead, she chose an imaginary game of her own, with imaginary goodies and baddies—and oh so much imaginary action that stunned me. I was invited/told to sit in a certain spot while she, the heroine, came to my aid after some horrible, imaginary person stole my purse. And, as I looked at her big, trusting, brown eyes, willing me to join in with all my heart, how could I do otherwise? There was much wailing and gesticulating and explaining, as she assured me she knew who the baddies were and would find my money. And to her satisfaction, she did—although I was left wondering where on earth the various story-lines she invented were taking us!

How could she possibly think up such things? Even the names she gave her imaginary characters were intriguing, with some being different people with the same name, just to trick us! For me, the whole experience provided an amazing insight into the intricacies of a child’s wonderful, fertile, unspoilt imagination where everything was possible and where Maxine knew, as the heroine, that she would win through in the end.

It seems a shame that, as the years pass, such joyful imagination tends to be squashed out of us, don’t you think, as we mature and become more logical and pragmatic? So often too, we lose that childlike sense of wonder and excitement I saw in Maxine’s eyes as I played her game with all the enthusiasm and imagination I could muster. And what about our childlike sense of trust that invites grandmothers to join in such games and is positive she will know what to do and say next? How easily that can disappear too!

We all need to grow up and manage our lives well. And we all need to grow and mature in our faith in God too and put childish ways of thinking behind us, as the Apostle Paul explains (1 Corinthians 13:11). Nevertheless, on one occasion, Jesus called a little child to join him and said the following:

I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

Imagine what our world would be like if more of us became humble children again and truly believed. Just imagine!

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Jo 12I was glad no one else could see me. There I was in my kitchen, kneading my latest batch of play dough into a lovely, squishy ball. I had coloured it bright blue for our grandson and knew I should put it in a container to keep it from drying out. But it was okay to play with it for a while … wasn’t it?

Later, I went to my study, where I had stored some toys our older granddaughters had bequeathed us for their younger cousins to play with. Now I decided these toys needed very slow and careful sorting … well, didn’t they? Oh, look—here was a whole playground to assemble, with ‘Little People’ who fitted in cars and on swings and little tricycles! And here in a box was something called an ‘Imaginarium’—a miniature wooden village, with train tracks leading here and there and a little pink train with carriages that joined together via magnets and some tiny cars and some people and trees and … And there was ‘Mr Potato Head’, with eyes and noses and arms and legs to attach!

Hmm.

I had such fun. I ignored all those other tasks awaiting my attention and allowed myself to enjoy the moment. No grandchildren to interrupt my play and want whatever it was I had. No grown-up children around to laugh and shake their heads at their mother. Not even any other adults in sight to wonder—and perhaps be a little jealous?

Was it a waste of time? Definitely not. Because, in the midst of my play, an answer Jesus once gave in response to a question about who would be greatest in the kingdom of heaven came to mind.

I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

I have been a Christian a long time. Yet I am still called to have that childlike faith that simply believes and trusts and enjoys the company of my heavenly Father. I need to recognise his voice and listen to what he says. I need to talk with him and laugh and cry with him—perhaps even play with him a little? Maybe then, I will become more like him.

This week, I read again the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19. Zacchaeus was a wealthy, important, grown man. Yet he was so eager to check out Jesus that he did something quite childish and climbed a tree to get a better view. Imagine how he felt when Jesus stopped right under where he was, called him by name and informed him he needed to come to his place! At once, we are told, Zacchaeus, in full view of everyone, came down from that tree and welcomed Jesus gladly. And the result?

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham.” Luke 19:9

I might be past climbing trees these days. But I hope I will always be that child at heart who will do anything to see Jesus more clearly and continue to trust him in childlike faith.

How about you?

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