Like a Child

I spotted some good friends at the supermarket today.  They were halfway across the store, but their two young daughters were unmistakable.  The girls rode together in the main basket of the shopping cart – a kinetic tangle of arms and legs dressed in happy colors.  Their giggles and tiny sing-song voices filtered through the humdrum shopping ambiance as I approached.  When I quietly rolled up beside them, the surprised youngsters erupted with squeals of delight – launching straight into my arms as if their cart was equipped with a secret eject button.

I chatted briefly with my friends while carrying-out various twirls and stunts with the kids (my presence is always synonymous with Cirque du Soleil).  After setting them back in their cart with tousled hair and flushed faces, I prepared to continue on with my shopping list… but the girls had other notions.  They wanted to go with me.  They wanted to follow me around the store.  They wanted to help me shop.  This would be a special mission for them, and they fervently sought permission from their parents to do so (and they got it!).

It was heart-warming to experience the joy, purity and innocence exhibited in young children.  And in that sense, it’s not surprising that the New Testament refers to having a “child-like” attitude in our relationship with God.  While this teaching can be applied in various ways, perhaps these two young ones exemplified some of what’s involved.  How many of their characteristics in the store would easily be included in a description of a healthy spiritual walk?

– They were happy and content with their place in life.
– They demonstrated obedience to higher authority.
– They displayed a shamelessly joyful spirit to all around them.
– They weren’t focused on their own image or superfluous details.
– They showed eagerness to help, and a desire to pursue new opportunities.
– They were willing to “drop everything” to follow.

Mark 10:14-16 — Jesus said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I tell you, 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, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

It might be easy to look back and say, “Well, they just were acting like kids in that store.  There was nothing extraordinary about their behavior.”  But that may be exactly the point.  A simple outlook; a child-like perspective; a joyful spirit… an attitude that’s pleasing to God!

– Ron Reid