Monday, March 31, 2014

Kingdom is for Kids (and Child-like Adults) (Mark 10:13-16)

“Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter at all.”

This short little snippet of Mark’s Gospel is a hugely important story. Here we see Jesus make a declarative statement that every follower of Jesus needs to meditate on from time to time. Since we don’t, there are several things that are often overlooked or done wrong by a lot of Christians/churches.

First, we see that the disciples were annoyed and frustrated at those bringing the children to Jesus. Anyone who has ever tried to do church (especially simple, “organic” church) with families can identify. It is really hard to get serious about worship and a message with kids running around being kids, right? A lot of churches solve this problem by sending the kids away to a “child-friendly” service while the adults get down to “real” church. When I was a kid we did things even better. We made kids sit still and learn to tune the service out quietly so that they could learn to sit still and ignore things as an adult later.

Jesus’ response to this is to rebuke the disciples. Not only should we put up with children, the Kingdom of God is all about being child-like. If you don’t approach God the way a child does, you’re not getting in. Maybe we need to rethink the way we do church. Make it less about what you know and more about how you live.

Secondly, we see that biblical Christianity is not the gnostic religion some have made it out to be. Following Jesus is about trusting Him, believing what He has said, and obeying His wishes in our daily lives. Much in the way a kid does a parent. It is not about some complicated, secret knowledge that only a handful of people understand and that you simply assert. Belief is more about how you live than how you sop up knowledge.

Finally, we see that the Kingdom is about the childlike trust in a person (God) and not the adult self-reliance we work so hard to achieve. As we grow, we learn to quit relying on a person for our safety (like our parents or God) and we work hard to not need anyone. Money is a big part of this system we have set up.

More about that money issue coming up…

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