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“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” ~ Matt. 18:1-7, KJB (Cambridge Edit.)
Children! They are everywhere! In the convenience stores with their parents, in the daycare centers, in schools, on playgrounds… simply everywhere! There are so many children in this world that need protecting. We, as adults, often see children as less than ourselves. Beings to watch over, protect, and treat nicely. If you have a son or daughter, sometimes you just get so angry with them that you want them to go to bed so you can have a moment’s peace.
Here is something that we never realize about children: they are teachers of the Lord.
You may ask yourselves now, “How can someone who doesn’t work, doesn’t bring home money for the family, or have any sort of means to take care of themselves be teachers to adults?” The answer can be described by children’s three most prominent features. Children are innocent, reliant on their parents, and full of faith.
Let us first talk of the innocence of children. Children are people who have not been tainted with the corruption of adulthood. Free from politics, desire of money, and the like, they care about fun, love, and closeness to friends and family. They want to play, laugh, entertain, give and receive love.
Next, let us mention a child’s reliance. Children aren’t self sufficient like most adults attempt to be. They merely know that they rely on their parents or guardians to take care of them. They know that their love will be payment enough for whatever protection is provided to them via their loved ones.
The final and most important aspect of a child’s character is their faith. Children have amazing faith in all things around them! As I have just mentioned, children KNOW that their parents will take care of them and love them. This knowledge is a faith in the future– that their parents will always, always love them. Children also have faith in things that their parents tell them about, even if they can’t see them. Remember how, so long ago, you truly had faith that there was a jolly man in red who left presents under your Christmas tree every year? That was faith.
So how do we become like little children again? It’s so very easy! We simply live.
We let go of all of our desires for power, social status, gaining money, and the like; we rely more on our great Parent, knowing that He will take care of us and that our love is payment enough to Him; we have faith that, though we cannot see our Father, He is ALWAYS there for us, watching over us and caring for us, regardless if we are good or bad, loving us whether we sin or we don’t. If we become like little children, we merely want to give love to others and our Father, and to receive it in return. Love will be our currency. Innocence will be our social-status builder. Faith is how we please our Father.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:11, KJB (Cambridge Edit.)
This text may seem contradictory to everything I have just said. Jesus has told us to become like little children again, but the apostle has now said that we must put away childish things? Which one is right?
They are both right.
It is very important for us to be as children; however, once we become adults, we must never forget that another generation is following us. A generation that will become the new light of the world once our wick burns out. So read my next line very carefully, brothers and sisters:
We must speak as adults– adults with the authority of Jesus– to lead the new generation in the way of the Gospel.
This is where the lessons learned from children truly begin to play a prominent role in one’s life. We are the guardians of children. We teach them, and they remind us of what we truly are: God’s children. This means that we are to teach them how to grow into adults who are still the children of God. That one day, they will put away their childish ways to become teachers of another generation. Then that generation will teach a new generation of God’s love. Then another, and another, and another, until the end of time.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” ~ Proverbs 22:6, KJB (Cambridge Edit.)
We, as adults, must lead the next generation in the ways that they should go. We are fathers, mothers, leaders, and teachers. We must, then, protect the innocence and faith of the younger generation.
Too many times in this day and age, children are exposed to sinful, harmful things whether through the media, other children, or the things they see in the world. The children will come to have faith in these things! It’s a very scary secular world. We must always train, teach, and lead children in the path of righteousness and of the Father. For the future of the world, and for the generations to come. The world is quickly plunging into darkness. We, as the light of the world, must illuminate the path for those following us, that they will not become lost in that darkness.
I fully believe with all of my heart that if we teach the children of the world the path of peace, the world will change. One of the children we influence may become the president of the United States one day. Or perhaps they will become future ministers of the Father. Or maybe missionaries. Even if a child becomes a ditch digger, he or she will dig ditches for the Lord and serve a purpose.
The children of the world are the future of the world. They are the true treasure in life. We must learn that when a child is born, they begin learning. To live the life that Jesus has taught His children, we, too, will teach children to live with love and happiness for all of their days, and influence future generations in the paths of love, peace, and happiness in God. A life that will never end.
Much of today’s world revolves so heavily around advertising, product placement, and, most importantly, the picture or image of the product. Billboards advertise a plethora of products, many of which are being developed day by day, all of which make out the product to look the best it can possibly look. Why shouldn’t companies make their goods look wonderful? They are, after all, selling a product and must do what they can to sell it. Take restaurant advertisements, for example. Walk into any McDonald’s or Burger King and look at their menu—chances are that the pictures of the food will make your mouth water. They look so delicious! However, when the burger is unwrapped, it looks much less than beautiful. Another example is jewelry. More often than not, the lighting in a jewelry case is set very precisely so the colors and textures of the rings, pendants, and gemstones are brought out. Unfortunately, when worn on a finger in everyday lighting, the jewel loses its luster.
What is it about image that is so important? Is it that the product won’t sell without the merchandise being visually appealing? If a company were to advertise show products as they normally appear, would they be bought? Does marketing play such an important role that we must modify what it looks like before someone will buy it? Many times, the answer is yes.
The true question is “does the physical appearance of a person affect his or her credibility at his or her profession?” Is a businessman still a businessman if he wears jeans and a t-shirt to the office? Is a professor still able to teach if he has long hair and wears sandals? Can a pastor still be a devout Christian if she has a face full of piercings? Can Jesus still be Jesus if He doesn’t look like we think He does?
The answer, once again, is yes.
The problem is that socialization has taken a toll on our beliefs about what a person should look like when they are in a certain position. If one doesn’t look the part, they aren’t taken seriously as what they are; but, looks are deceiving.
In your mind, when you think of Jesus, what image comes to your mind? Surely, there are many artists representations of what our Lord may have looked like. Look at the various pictures of Jesus that are on this page. Some are what you may expect Him to look like, while others are farther from how you’ve ever imagined our Savior.
“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” ~ 1 Peter 3:3-4
We see that God does not wish for our physical appearance to be what gives us substance. Expensive clothes, fine jewelry, and fixing ourselves up nice and pretty are not important to God. Why would they be? The body ages and grows old, eventually returning to the dust from which it came. What substance does a pile of dust have when it is adorned with fine gold and gems? The people passing by will pay no attention to the dust, but steal from it the expensive things that adorn it, for it is merely a pile of dust.
There was nothing about the appearance of Jesus that would lead anyone to follow Him. His status in life was not that of the Pharisees and Sadducees; He was a carpenter, not a noble. His clothing was nothing special, nor did he wear rings of gold. He even met and dined with individuals who were considered crooks and sinners. Look even to the disciples that He called. Fishermen. Tax collectors. Persecutors. Nothing about these people gave Jesus any high image in life, whether physical or social. Why, then, did Jesus call such questionable people to begin the most profound ministry of all time? We see why in 1 Samuel 16:7:
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’” ~ 1 Samuel 16:7
Of all the people Jesus could have chosen to be His disciples, He chose people based not on their social image, physical beauty, or financial prosperity; instead, Jesus Christ looked at the heart of those who He called centuries ago, and so does He do today. Many people in life attempt to impress others by looking beautiful with makeup, large estates, and sophisticated linguistics. This is on the body, but what is in the heart? The true intent of one’s ventures—ulterior motifs, if you will—are the heart of a person. If a person acts in one way, dresses one way, and presents herself in some way, we only know what she puts on for those around her. Only Christ knows her heart.
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” ~ Proverbs 31:30
The above scripture does not, by any means, that charming or beautiful people are in the wrong. Some people have natural charm, which may be a gift from the Lord, and the same goes for beauty. All people have attributes to their character that are given by God for His glory. The true message of Proverbs 31:30 is that it is not what is beheld by human eyes that matters. Instead, it is what God perceives in the heart of the charming, the beautiful, the impoverished, or the sinful, that truly matters.
As you go about your week, do not worry what others think of you so much that you forget what truly matters to God. Your heart of hearts is what truly matters to Him, not your cloth of cloth. Set your minds and hearts up with the will of the Father, and you will please Him and experience closeness with the Father that loves you more than any other. Appearances are deceiving, misleading, and temporary, but the eternal soul that God sees within you is permanent. Always remember this: Jesus is still Jesus, whether He is portrayed as you have always thought of Him or not.
Go with God, and He’ll go with you. Bless you all.