Good Things/Small Packages
Good things come in small packages? Well perhaps, if this phone is any indication. Measuring 1.26 by 2.75 inches, it has smallness going for it anyway.
There have been a lot of small machines invented lately. Take a look at these and tell me which ones you might find useful. I’ll take number three, because I want my morning coffee not only to taste great but also to taste expensive!
In a world that celebrates big ideas, it’s kind of refreshing to see the tiny things getting attention sometimes.
Littleness in the Kingdom of God
God – who is big, of course – deals with the little things too. What interests me is how he does it with things that are eternal.
David, just a boy
Take David. He was “little more than a boy” when he faced Goliath, who had “been a warrior from his youth.” (1 Samuel 17:33, 42.) Not only was Goliath huge at almost 10 feet tall, but his armor included a coat of mail weighing 125 pounds. David, on the other hand, relied on small things. With only a slingshot and a stone from the riverbed, he dropped Goliath like a quarter-ton sack of potatoes.
How did he do it? It couldn’t have been simpler:
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:45-47.)
And it happened just that way. God didn’t use Saul, the tall and mighty battle-hardened warrior king, to fight the Philistine champion Goliath.
God used David, the shepherd boy.
In Luke 18, Jesus is teaching and some folks brought their babies along, hoping to bring them close enough to Jesus to have him bless the little ones. (Luke 18:15.) His disciples were having none of that and told people to keep those kids away from Jesus when he was busy. Jesus, in turn, was having none of that!
But Jesus called the children to him and said, “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.” (Luke 18:16-17.)
As the verses leading up to that event and those immediately following show, Jesus interrupted his teaching in order to spend time with the children. He knew their importance, even if the disciples didn’t, and he made all the grown-ups who had come to hear him teach wait while he blessed those children. The disciples might not have caught on to what he meant about entering God’s kingdom “like a little child”, but they should have because he’d already clued them in a bit.
The Other Lesson in Childlike Faith
Earlier in his ministry, Jesus commissioned 72 of his followers to go out and preach the gospel, sending them out in pairs. The 36 teams returned with success story after success story, including casting out demons in Jesus’ name. Big stuff, for sure. But Jesus had his eye on something even more significant.
“However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.” (Luke 10:2021.)
The disciples Jesus trusted to preach the gospel from town to town, who had performed miracles in his name, are not given a mighty label. They are called children.
Almost like calling them babies.
Because little children trust their parents, and these disciples – like little children – had gone out trusting Jesus. When they returned they were excited to tell him what they’d done, just like a child would.
So maybe they did recognize what he meant when he later said that people need to receive the kingdom of God “like a little child”. They’d already lived that truth themselves. Maybe some of them even turned to each other with a knowing look and whispered, “Remember when we came back from preaching and he said we were little children?”
That’s a good thing to remember: I am God’s little child.