Waynedale United Methodist Church
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   
Child-Like Faith”
Mark 10:13 - 16

Ted Jansen June 17, 2018 Waynedale UMC

 

1.) Are the children the future of the Church or are the children the church? Before you answer that question consider what Jesus said one day as he was talking to adults. “Anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15) Jesus was saying that the Kingdom of God is filled with people with child - like faith. I believe that the reason that children are the church today and not of the future is that they possess the faith that Jesus spoke about in their lives. We adults have to be reminded what child-like faith is and the best way we receive it is to see it lived out.

What is child-like faith that all of us need today? I believe child-like faith has a limited perspective and an unlimited perspective to life and faith.

 

2.) Limited

a.) You have been planning this trip for months. You have been looking at the map, sorting out the clothes, making sure the car is in good shape. You have made arrangements for the pets, plants, and the paper route. You have worked hard to get all the details worked out for the trip.

You pull out of the driveway and a whole other set of concerns start running around in your brain. Will we will hit traffic, how will the camper pull, how will the kids get along, did we forget anything, will we get a flat tire, where are the restroom facilities, etc. and etc.? The concerns of what could happen are heavy upon you.

Contrast that with the life of your child. It is the day vacation begins and everything is great, it seems as if it has taken forever to get to this day. You, as the child, get in the car and are excited. The car pulls out the driveway and starts driving down the road. Then you decide to read the book your family gave you, you hit your brother or sister six times, a few more miles down the road you decide to eat your snacks, inside you have giggled with excitement and have looked out the window. Then what to you seems like a long time (and in reality is only 15 minutes) away from the driveway you say what is on your heart, mind, and soul, “Are we there yet?”

b.) This is an honest question because children have a limited perspective. They do not see all the concerns, the pitfalls, the bumps and bruises out there. They have a limited perspective that thinks for today and today only.

Adults have the longer perspective and at times are more concerned about tomorrow than about today. That is why children will naturally move towards puddles than away from them. They can play in them. They do not have to wash the clothes they get dirty.

c.) Another evidence of having a limited perspective is the ability to laugh. Do you know that children laugh approximately 400 times a day? Can you guess how many times a day adults laugh? It is about 40 times a day. Why is that? I believe we laugh when we can look at ourselves and the world lightly. We have a healthy limit to life. We do not laugh because we take ourselves too seriously. We think that too much of the world is our responsibility.

Child - like faith says we are limited and God will take care of the details.

d.) A little boy was at his first wedding. After the wedding another little boy asked him how many women a man could marry.

“Sixteen,” the little boy answered.

“How do you know?” The little boy answered.

“The pastor said it-four better, four worse, four richer and four poorer,” the boy replied. (Holy Humor, page 107, submitted by Rev. David Polek)

 

3.) Unlimited

a.) What do we think about when we see a new baby? Do you think about when that child will drive or whom they will marry or what kind of student will they be? No! You simply admire and adore. Babies remind us of the miracle of life, they remind us of something that is unlimited, the divine source of life, of God. How long has it been since someone came up to you and just stopped and said, “let me look at you, such a precious life, my what beautiful features, it is just a joy to look at you. Do you mind if I just hold on to you for awhile.” Adults do this to babies, don’t they? When do adults stop doing this? We all are precious to God! Children, especially young ones, put us in touch with the miracle of life from God.

b.) What do babies see when they look at you? What do children see when they look at others? What do youth see when they look around them at the lives of people? You begin looking at others without any limits, any preconceived ideas, any understanding of limits. A child believes and experiences life that is filled with the unlimited. Children also forgive quickly and can let hurts go.

Jesus said it was essential for child-like faith. We need to see our world where the unlimited love, power and life of God are being lived out.

c.) Dr. Rich Bimler invites each of us to try being an inverse paranoid. That is someone who thinks that everyone is out to make you happy. Dr. Bimler says, “Try it. It works. Just imagine that everyone you meet is trying to bring happiness and joy to your life. And then try to do the same for them.” (Holy Humor, page 105)

We need this child-like faith that we see in the lives of children?

 

4.) It was a day when Jesus needed the presence of a child. He needed to be reminded of that limited perspective and the unlimited perspective. A child-like faith that embraces the love and life of God.

In Mark’s Gospel, (also in Matthew) right before we read about Jesus blessing the children (10:2-12), we read that Jesus has been asked a question about divorce. It is real life issue of that day and it is question that some religious people were trying to test Jesus with. Jesus is being judged and tested and seeking to deal compassionately with the hardness of people’s heart. It was a tough subject in Jesus’ day as it is today. Jesus is feeling the pressure and concerns of all around him.

Then a few parents bring their children to Jesus to have Him touch them. The parents wanted their children to have a blessing. The disciples knew all about the stress of the day and how Jesus did not need to be bothered at the moment. So they told the parents and children to move along.

Jesus gets angry because He wants the children to receive a blessing of love. The gift of love that children can best understand is a hug, and perhaps Jesus himself needed a hug from one of the precious children. He tells everyone that unless you have the faith and heart like a child you cannot enter the Kingdom of God. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.” (Mark 10:14 – 16)

 

5.) Imagine that one day you were in a group of children wanting to see Jesus and give Him a hug. Maybe you saw Jesus and He looked sad, He needed a hug and a smile from you. So you go to give of yourself to this man, Jesus. Then some adults started pushing you and the other children away. You were a little hurt, a little confused and you did not understand what was happening. But then this man, Jesus, tells the adults and looks right at you as he says, “Let the children come to me.”

I want you to look around at this congregation. Some here worry too much, some are sad, some have lost their smile, some need a song, some need a smile, a hug, or the touch of a child of God.

 

6.) We need, like children, the blessing and touch of God. Let us pray.