Reading: Luke 18:15-17 (NRSV)
15 People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. 16 But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 17 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”
The only people who don’t like getting gifts are the ones who don’t really understand gift-giving, I think – folks who, when they’re given something, immediately run a cost analysis of the gift they’ll have to give back to “break even”. I’m pretty sure we all know someone like this, and I’m pretty sure it’s an adult-only neurosis. You’re unlikely to see a kid do this, because kids are much smarter than adults – it says so in the Bible!
In today’s reading Jesus tells his disciples, “If you don’t receive the Kingdom of God like a little child, you’ll never enter it.” The Kingdom of God is a gift: a huge gift, something that can’t be reciprocated. There’s no “breaking even” with God on this one – there’s no need to! That’s what kids get about gifts that we don’t. Unless we enjoy it (the Kingdom, grace) like the gift it is, we’ll never “get it”, no matter how many hours we spend in the Bible or how much we pray.
Friends, we are no longer under the scales of “the law”. Our “goodness” doesn’t mete out good fortune or vice-versa. Jesus kicked those scales off the table and set up a new system (Galatians 3:23-26). It dispenses grace like a malfunctioning snack machine! No payment necessary, no coins needed; just the willingness to step forward and receive, freely and abundantly; the best gift, day after day.
Prayer: Thank you for this most precious gift, Lord! Spirit, help me to receive it freely, fully, joyously, and to share it with all I encounter this week! Amen.