Scriptures: 1 John 3:1-10, Matthew 18:2-7
Children possess an uncanny ability to cut to the core of the issue, to expose life to the bone, and strip away the barnacles that cling to the hull of our too sophisticated pseudo-civilization. One reason for this, I believe, is that children have not mastered our fine art of deception that we call "finesse." Another is that they are so "lately come from God" that faith and trust are second nature to them. They have not acquired the obstructions to faith that come with education; they possess instead unrefined wisdom, a gift from God.
KIDS' LITTLE INSTRUCTIONS ON LIFE
Never trust a dog to watch your food.
Patrick, Age 10
When you want something expensive, ask your grandparents.
Matthew, Age 12
Never smart off to a teacher whose eyes and ears are twitching.
Andrew, Age 9
Wear a hat when feeding seagulls.
Rocky, Age 9
When your dad is mad and asks you, "Do I look stupid?" don't answer him.
Heather, Age 16
Never tell your mom her diet's not working.
Michael, Age 14
Don't pick on your sister when she's holding a baseball bat.
Joel, Age 12
Never try to baptize a cat.
Laura, Age 13
Never spit when on a roller coaster.
Scott, Age 11
Beware of cafeteria food when it looks like it's moving.
Rob, Age 10
Never tell your little brother that you're not going to do what your mom told you to do.
Hank, Age 12
Remember you're never too old to hold your father's hand.
Molly, Age 11
Listen to your brain. It has lots of information.
Chelsey, Age 7
Stay away from prunes.
Randy, Age 9
Never dare your little brother to paint the family car
Phillip, Age 13
Forget the cake, go for the icing.
Cynthia, Age 8
Remember the two places you are always welcome - church and grandma's house.
Joanne, Age 11
For adults there is a melancholy element in this joyous time of the year. Most likely it is a stirring of childhood emotions and memories that cause us to desire to recapture what has been misplaced over the years.
q It is a child’s favorite time of the year.
q We have all been children.
q We have all been sidetracked by life.
The Christian faith is a kid thing as well. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
There are some steps that we perhaps need to retake before we will ever fully experience the Christmas season and the reality of an everyday transformational relationship with God. Let’s look at some Kid Kharacteristics that we could learn from.
q They forgive easier and forget quickly.
There are at least two things that I don’t want my children to ever be able to say about me. I don’t want them to say that I never told them that I loved them and I don’t want them to say that I never said, “I’m sorry.” I have said both of those things to them and try to do it often. Many times after I am short with my children or when I pull rank because they have questioned something that irritates me because I don’t have a good answer, I go back and apologize. So easily they say, “It’s okay when it’s far from okay. I think that people who forgive easily and carry on, treating the offender no differently are a much greater source of conviction than the person who mopes and pouts and insists on an apology. I operate under the general premise that no one owes me an apology regardless of the circumstances. My goal is to forgive people whether they want to be forgiven or not. I have heard people say that you can’t forgive a person unless they want to be forgiven. When Jesus dies for all of us, he said to those who took his life and to all of us today, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
q They have soft tender hearts of compassion.
No one is moved for others quite like children. They feel the pain of others more deeply than we do as adults.
A man fell into a pit and couldn't get himself out.
A SUBJECTIVE person came along and said:
"I FEEL for you, down there."
An OBJECTIVE person came along and said:
"It's logical that someone would fall, down there."
A CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST came along:
"You only THINK that you are in a pit."
A PHARISEE said:
"Only BAD people fall into a pit."
calculated HOW he fell into the pit.
A NEWS REPORTER
wanted the exclusive story on his pit.
A FUNDAMENTALIST said:
"You DESERVE your pit."
"If you would have listened to me, you would not be in that pit."
"Your pit is only a state of mind."
A REALIST said:
"That's a PIT."
calculated the pressure necessary (lbs./sq.in.) to get him out of the pit.
told him to appreciate the rock strata in the pit.
AN EVOLUTIONIST said:
"You are a rejected mutant destined to be removed from the evolutionary cycle." In other words, he is going to DIE in the pit, so that he cannot produce any "pit-falling offspring."
The COUNTY INSPECTOR asked
if he had a permit to dig a pit.
A PROFESSOR gave him a lecture on:
"The Elementary Principles of the Pit."
An EVASIVE person
came along and avoided the subject of his pit altogether
A SELF-PITYING person said:
"You haven't seen anything until you've seen MY PIT!!"
A CHARISMATIC said:
"Just CONFESS that you're not in a pit."
An OPTIMIST said:
"Things COULD be worse."
A PESSIMIST said:
"Things WILL get worse!!"
JESUS, seeing the man, took him by the hand and LIFTED HIM OUT of the pit.
Sometimes the church can lose it’s compassion.
I was hungry and you formed a humanities club and discussed my hunger.
I was imprisoned and you crept off quietly to your chapel and prayed for my release.
I was naked and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance.
I was sick and you knelt and thanked God for your health.
I was homeless and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of God.
I was lonely and you left me alone to pray for me.
You seem so close to God; but I am still very hungry, and lonely, and cold.
q They are teachable because they trust their teachers.
I took a piece of plastic clay
And idly fashioned it one day,
And as my fingers pressed it still,
It moved and yielded to my will.
I came again when days were past --
The bit of clay was hard at last;
The form I gave it, it still bore,
But I could change that form no more.
I took a piece of living clay
And gently formed it day by day,
And moulded with my power and art
A young child's soft and yielding heart.
I came again when years were gone --
It was a man I looked upon;
He still that early impress wore,
And I could change him nevermore.
-- Author unknown
Do you think that you have anything left to learn related to God? Most of us would say “Of course.” But we act as though we don’t. We become closed to new perspectives based on timeless truth. Every once in a while you need someone to give you a different perspective. Someone who will ask you if you’ve ever looked at it like this or from this angle. They will tilt things just a little and it creates discomfort but a new, living appreciation for truth is born because someone has challenged your perspective.
A teacher is not there just to acquaint you with the tools of your trade; a teacher is a tool of your trade, no matter what that trade is. You never stop needing teachers. The great musicians never stop taking lessons, never stop trying to improve. The great concert pianist, Arthur Rubinstein, used to say that if he missed a day of practice, he noticed it in the quality of his performance. If he missed two days, the critics noticed. And if he missed three days, the audience noticed.
Are you teachable? Are there things that you can learn? I hope so.
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.
-- Henry Ford
q They are less judgmental of others.
It is a waste of time to presume to be a qualified judge of others. We cannot see beyond our own eyes. We do not know the motives of a man’s heart – we are not qualified to judge ourselves. JER 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure. Who can understand it? "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve."
Kids are accepting perhaps to a fault. There are very few things that people can do to disqualify themselves from the love of a child. We rightfully worry about that with our children but we have gone a long way from that – perhaps too far.
q They are less pretentious.
There's a story about a little girl who climbed up on the lap of great-grandmother and looked at her white hair and wrinkles and then asked, "Did God make you?"
"Yes," she said.
Then she asked, "Did God make me, too?"
Grandma said, "Yes."
"Well," said the little girl, "Don't you think He's doing a better job now than he used to?"
They are painfully honest. There are very few things that they will not say and it is rarely or never to hurt another. They just assume that people are not offended by the truth. Adults are though. The truth is offensive to us. Sometimes though it is not the truth that offends us but the manner in which it is told. The Bible says that the way that you tell the truth is crucial.
q They have an imagination.
There is a story about a father who became disturbed about the length of time his six year old son was taking to get home from school. The father decided he would make the trip to discover for himself how long it should take a small boy to cover the distance.
The father settled on 20 minutes but his son was still taking an hour. Finally the father decided to make the trip with his son. After the trip, the man said, "The 20 minutes I thought reasonable was right, but I failed to consider such important things as a sidetrip to track down a trail of ants -- or an educational stop to watch a man fix a flat -- or the time it took to swing around a half dozen telephone poles -- or how much time it took for a boy just to get acquainted with two stray dogs and a brown cat. "In short," said the father, "I had forgotten what it is really like to be six years old."
q They are more quick to believe in the things that they cannot see.
Kids don’t require the same degree of proof in order to believe. They are quick to believe and they believe strongly. Has the passion of belief touched your soul lately. When is the last time that you have been able to lift your eyes beyond the realities of life and really believe?
A teacher was doing her best to discredit the miracles of the Bible. She said, "Take, for instance, the crossing of the Red Sea. We know this body of water was only 6 inches deep." Immediately from the back of the room came the remark, "Praise God for the miracle!" Annoyed, the teacher asked, "What miracle?" "Well," explained the boy, "the Lord must have drowned the whole Egyptian army in just 6 inches of water!"
See: Psa 106:9-11; Heb 11:29
q They have a zest for enjoying life to the fullest that overrides other appetites that cripple adults.
When we are young we have a desire to live and enjoy the whole experience. We are consumed with living and we don’t care what it looks like to others. When we become older we become less concerned with living and more concerned with what it looks like.
I heard you say to love our enemies. I am only six and do not have any yet. I hope to have some when I am seven.
Your friend, Love,