At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
— Matthew 18:1-4, NRSV Bible with Apocrypha
Are we trying too hard? That’s what I asked myself after getting home from church today. I love the church I go to and I love the people there…and I almost always leave feeling exhausted and wondering why. It wears me out, that’s why. There is so much intensity and intentionality, all about good stuff, but it just wears me out; it suffocates me.
Is “becoming all flame” a lifelong path of intense intentionality? Did Abba Joseph say “If you just try harder, you can become all flame.”? Abba Lot was trying and clearly interested in trying harder. What did Abba Joseph mean?
“Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
It seems children are to be our teachers when it comes to this. Do they try hard, do they give it all they’ve got? Yes, they do. Are they intense about it? Yes…and no. Are they “intentional”? Depends on what you mean; probably not in the way we think of it. Are they driving some agenda? No. Are they “striving for excellence”? No, not unless some adult is pushing them. Are they worried about doing it “the right way”? No, not unless someone is judging them.
What is it about them, about their humility, that we desperately need to learn again?
photo by cherylholt at pixabay