Scripture: Matthew 19:13-22
Key verses: (14,16) “‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’ . . . Then someone came to him and said, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’”
Reflection: Blessed now with seven grandchildren, one 8 year old, six more 4 years old and younger, my knowledge of the way of children is being refreshed in heaping doses. One big learning is children take. They don’t earn. If I offer a hug, a toy, a trip to get ice cream, a story at bedtime, my grandchildren welcome it and just assume it is theirs to have. They have absolutely no need to earn any of these things offered.
Yet as we grow something happens.
When I was in seminary the courses were taught on a pass/fail basis, no grades, just “pass” or “fail.” One professor began the first day of his class and announced to us all, “Everyone of you has passed this course. Period. That is done. Now, let’s study together.” For weeks thereafter there was dissent and resistance to the professor’s action. Many of us chaffed at this decision to pass everyone in the class regardless. We wanted to earn our own way to success.
Children, who take rather than earn, to them belong the kingdom, Jesus says. The grown up who asks Jesus, “What good deed must I do to have eternal life?” ends up turning away.
How will we live this day? Will it be like children receiving what God in Jesus the Christ freely gives us? Or will we act as grown-ups and keep trying to earn our own way?
Prayer: Gracious God, in the baptismal waters you have made us yours forever. Keep us from trying to earn your blessing this day and call us again to trust your salvation which is sure, in Jesus the Christ our Lord. Amen.
Author: Pete Peery
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].