Wednesday in the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 18:1-5; Mark 9:33-37; Luke 9:46-48

The Beautiful Example of Little Children

This is one of those hard lessons, but then the gospel is a hard gospel, I mean, when you think about it.  We make it sound way too easy, but it goes counter to the thinking and nature of the flesh (our sinful natures), the world, and certainly the devil, who uses those two weapons against us.  But then again, when we submit to its yoke, when we follow the Spirit’s leading, then the gospel becomes the sweetest thing in the world, and the burden is light.  That’s why Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29-30).

And why is the yoke of Christ easy?  I think because he was lowly; and that in some mysterious way, he still is lowly, as the Lamb who gives himself for our salvation, who forgives, who intercedes, who does everything for us.  But we don’t wish to be lowly.  Everything in our nature, everything in the world, tells us that we are to excel, move up, succeed.  Now I do not disparage any of this if we are doing so to better ourselves and our family; after all, the Lord gives us gifts and abilities which He wants us to use and improve upon.  But He wants us to do so in such a way that serves the kingdom.  He wants us to do our best – but for His glory, not ours (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Then Jesus uses a little child as his visual aid.  In Mark and Luke, he speaks of receiving such a child, and that in doing so, one receives himself and his Father.  In Matthew, Jesus says that we must become like little children to even enter the kingdom of heaven.  And why is this?  Because little children have a natural humility and unassuming nature about themselves.  Oh, I’m aware that children can be cruel to other children, and two-year-olds can pitch howling fits.  But there is still an innocence about them that simply asks and receives.  They think that there is an endless supply of PBJ sandwiches, and it’s not presumption that makes them think this way – it’s an unassuming trust in their parents, in God.  They don’t worry like we do, and that’s the way we want them to be – the way we wish we were, that we could just expect in an unassuming, unpretentious way that God will take care of everything.  To know that it is His good pleasure to give us the kingdom (Luke 12:32), to be anxious for nothing (Matthew 6:31-34), to have the peace of God rule in our hearts (Philippians 4:6-7)–this is our desire.  It is this kind of faith that frees us then to serve others.  And may we receive all the little ones as we have been received by Him.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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