A Child’s faith is purer than ours, and his believing is faster than the grown ups.
Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it (Mk 10:15). This is a grossly misunderstood word of God. For most of the people the most important quality of a child is his innocence. Children are not as innocent as we think. A two year old child is as clever as his age demands. That child can cry to get his demand fulfilled. That child can hide his toys so that his brother or sister won’t take it. That child can think of so many things as her needs demand. So, we cannot say that a child is completely innocent. A child is only more innocent than a grown up in this aspect.
There is another aspect of innocence, i.e. not doing anything wrong. Here too, though children are not responsible for their acts, they act in harmful ways to others. They pinch others. They hit others. They shout at other children. They do all these things whenever the situation requires them to do so. So, the most important quality of a child is not innocence. Rather the most important quality of a child is his belief in others.
Believing without an iota of doubt:-
A child believes without an iota of doubt whatever somebody says. Tell him that inside the TV there are people who do all those things and he will believe. Tell him that the little dog you see there is going to school and he will believe. Once, I told my son that one of his brothers was inside the mobile phone and that’s why he could hear his voice, and my son believed it. Once, I told my daughter that sleep could be seen in the mouth. Then, whenever she felt sleepy, she would open her mouth and ask me to see if sleep was there. Children never doubt whatever somebody says.
A child does not remove anything from what is told to him. His belief in what is told is complete. But grown ups know how to believe with a pinch of salt what others say.
A child does not take time to believe what somebody says. The moment he hears, he believes it. A grown up does not believe immediately. He takes time to believe what somebody says.
Believing without analyzing:-
A child does not analyze and does not come to a conclusion whether the thing told him is credible or not. Without considering any aspect of it, he believes what is told him.
Willing to bear any hardship to get what he wants:-
A child is least bothered about the hardships he has to face in order to get what he desires. A child will forego food. A child will forego any toy in order to get the toy he wants. A child will get beaten by his parents, but he will not leave the thing he desires. A child will not calculate the energy and time he has to spend in order to get what he wants. A child, in order to get the thing he desires, sacrifices everything else completely. A grown up, even though he desires a thing, calculates everything and if he has to make a little sacrifice in order to get what he desires, he forgets his desire rather than his other pleasures.
This is the nature which Jesus wants us to learn from children. He wants us to believe whatever he says without doubting, without removing anything from it, without taking time, without analyzing and without holding on to those things which can stop us from following Jesus.
The disciples were people who believed Jesus in this way. As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea-for they were fishermen. And he said to them,” Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” IMMEDIATELY they left their nets and followed him (Mt.4:18-20). As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Mathew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him,” Follow me.” And he GOT UP and followed him (Mt.9:9).
After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth and he said to him,” Follow me.” And he got up, left everything, and followed him (Lk.5:27, 28). When Jesus called, they did not doubt what good they would get out of it. They believed completely in Jesus and they left their livelihood. They did not take a second to believe what Jesus said. They did not analyze what Jesus said.
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “you lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions (Mk.10:21, 22). This incident is narrated in the Bible immediately after the incident where Jesus asks us to be like children. This young man could not accept Jesus like a child. He analyzed the impact of his call on his life. He was ready to partly follow God, for he always kept the commandments.
As they were going along the road, someone said to him,” I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Lk.9:57-62). Here too, Jesus is explaining how we should be like children if we want to be his followers. The answer to his call must be doubtless, immediate, complete, thoughtless and sacrificing.
Let us pray: Jesus, thank you for enlightening my mind. Thank you for inspiring me to do a lot for you and for my brothers and sisters. Remove all my doubts. Make me quick to respond to you. Take away my nature of analyzing what the Lord of all intelligence speaks. Teach me the triviality of the things which stop me from following you.
– – – written by Adv. Shibu Varghese