5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.6 If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! 8 If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
Sustainable Childlike Faith
The faith that Jesus wants is the open teachability that comes from being a child. Children seek out information in order to grow. Adults often seek out entertainment in order to medicate themselves. They soothe themselves with sit-coms, divert themselves with movies, or immerse themselves in video-games. When pain comes we must keep ourselves open. Pain and suffering often lead disciples astray and Jesus sternly warns those who would lead a disciple from their path. It is not just pain that distracts but also shortcuts to pleasure or gain. Ecclesiastes warns us of the foolishness of trying to work the system to get ahead for personal gain. It seems that there are a plethora of get slim, rich, happy, or sexy quick schemes. The life of the disciple is a way of life. We know how important routine is for children and we do well when we let parents model a routine for us. We also do well when we seek God about how to develop sustainable childlike faith. The community of believers need to encourage each other to keep meeting, keep seeking God, keep modeling godly behaviour for our children, and how to prioritize each day.
- How does Jesus motivate the community to embrace child-like disciples?
- What aspects of being a child would enhance discipleship?
- How do wrong-minded communities cause the heart to harden?
- What causes you to cease pursuing God with an open attitude?
- How can you encourage others to maintain a child-like pursuit of God the Father?
I like what you said about the teachability of a child. The hunger for knowledge. The curiosity. These are definitely qualities to emulate in our own discipleship journey. I also think about the vulnerability of a child. The openness to love and be loved. The trust that children are ready to give. The dependence. All of these qualities we, unfortunately, tend to “grow out of.”