“Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. 3 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:2-3
When Tyler (my oldest son) was young and just learning how to swim, he scared me. Not just me… but my wife Stephanie as well. While other children put on inflatable water wings and “floaties” and such, Tyler dove right into the deep end of the pool to practice. Time and time again we told him to stay toward the steps. It didn’t work. Before we knew it he was back down to the 7 foot end trying his luck with the stronger swimmers. As I think back, I realize now why Tyler must have been confident enough to jump into water that was twice as deep as he was tall… he had faith. He knew that if he got into trouble, dad would be right there to get him out of it. I wouldn’t stand on the pool edge and point my finger and tell him “I told you so!” No, he trusted me and he felt safe…just because I was there.
Today’s verse talks about that type of trust. Jesus says in Matthew 18 that we are to “turn from your sins and become like little children” if we are to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. What did He mean? Isn’t being childlike something that we are trying to avoid in our maturing process?
What Jesus meant wasn’t regressing back to our former ways. He meant simply that our faith needs to be complete. Our Heavenly Father sits poolside while we stand at the edge of the water. Do we jump in? Can we trust Him? We can’t stop worrying over bills and car problems and aging and productivity numbers and everything else that makes us need a massage. What if we jump in and He’s not enough? What if we swallow too much water and start to sink? What if our feet can’t touch the bottom? Where is the bottom? If I can’t see the bottom, how do I know it’s safe? Is God enough? Will He protect me?
A child doesn’t think of these things. They see water. They glance over to see if their parents are watching… and they jump. Two seconds of silence until they break the surface and sink below the waterline. Blissfully trusting that if anything were to happen…they were protected. They don’t ignore the dangers, they just don’t focus on them. They see dad. They know he’s there. They enjoy the journey without worrying about the possibilities of failure. When Jesus tells us to become like little children, He’s not telling us to stay oblivious to what the world throws at us. He’s telling us to look to Him, trust Him completely, and jump. Dive into what God has for you! It’s THAT kind of faith that not only gets us to Heaven, but allows us to enjoy the swim of life along the way!