Childlike not Childish

Childlike not Childish

mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ. Fellow redeemed in Christ, the text for this morning comes from the
Gospel reading.

As you
and I grow older as adults, it is interesting to watch our parents grow older
if they are still around. And if they are not, you remember very well the
attributes that they exhibited as they did grow older. You saw the man or the
woman who was very sharp and quick slow down a little bit. You saw age chisel
away at their features, but more importantly, you saw their demeanor change.
If they were forceful and if they were driven, they slowed down a little bit.
If they were quick to get angry, they were cooler a little bit more as time
went on.

to see that, at that twilight part of their life, because it is the very thing
that God exalts and lifts up in this morning’s text by our Lord Jesus. Because
God exalts and lifts up childlikeness, but not childishness. The problem that
lies therein is that you and I, we fall, for most of us, in the big fat realm
of childishness. Neither are we at the very twilight of our life where we
begin to realize and are very aware of the frailty of our bodies and our souls,
and neither are we at that toddler or infant stage or younger where we are also
very aware of adults who are older than we and who know more than we and we
gladly yield to their wisdom. Rather, we are in the fat middle where
childishness abounds.

very clear to you and me. We’ve seen childlikeness. We’ve also seen
childishness. Here, the disciples are arguing who is the greatest in the
kingdom of Heaven. I know that you and I love our parents dearly, and after
they have died, or when they do die, you and I will talk glowingly as their
sons or daughters of them as parents. But let’s also be honest enough to say
that we will also talk very frank about our parents, because we also know the
other side.

isn’t it interesting what we do as human beings. When we wish to exhibit an
example to follow, when we wish to laud an individual as the par excellence
person, we tend to point to and direct our attention unto attributes that are
the world’s definition of greatness—hard-working, decisive, quick to take care
of something. We usually do not lift up and exalt, “They asked so many people
for advice”; “they always were allowed to be led”; “they yielded to others who
knew more than they.” That is not what is talked about about great people in
this world.

So when
Jesus, amongst these great twelve, the chosen, who for time immemorial
will always be remembered in God’s Holy Gospel because they were the twelve.
In the midst of these twelve great men who had lots of childish attitudes and
attributes of which Scripture is very replete, does God in Christ Jesus bring a
child and says, “This is what it is to be the greatest.”

Look at
even what Jesus does. He doesn’t take a child and bring him. He calls the
child. The child obediently listens and comes. Doesn’t ask why. Doesn’t ask,
“What is it going to cost me?” “How is it going to impact my life?” “Is it
going to be a pain, or is it not going to be a pain?” “Will it interfere with
my plans or not?”

And yet,
that’s how you and I think in terms when someone asks for us. And that’s also
what we heard and what came out of our mouths when we heard it from our own
children, and it came out of our mouths when we were their age.

Isn’t it
interesting when you watch a couple of people discuss something of which there
is a great amount of emotional investment, it’s very evident as we sit back and
watch this group or these several talk with such fervor and passion about this
item or situation. We are not a part of that and so we’re able to look at that
and go, Man, they are wrapped around the axel. What is the deal? Why are
they so adamant about these things?

very easy for us on the outside to see that and to say, Now, that is
But let ourselves be in the midst of that heated passion and
debate, and we’re blind to it; aren’t we? Your wife or your husband has
pointed out to you your childishness, very clearly and very often. Even your
children and even if they’re not their children, you know when they look at you
with that look, they know that they’re seeing in front of their very eyes
childishness in the words that are coming out of your mouth or my mouth. Gracious

we’re supposed to be God’s leaders. We’re supposed to be God’s parents, God’s
fathers and mothers of the children entrusted unto us, and look at how we act.
Shame on us. Unless you turn and become like little children, you will never
enter the kingdom of Heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the
greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.

Just as
we know what childishness looks like, we also know what childlikeness looks
like. Teachers can tell you in a heartbeat. Coaches can tell you in a
heartbeat. Anybody who works with other people regardless of their age can tell
you the childlikeness of people, because they’re the ones who don’t complain;
they’re the ones who choose joy as opposed to negativity; they’re the ones who
desire to serve and aren’t grumbling about what it’s costing them; they’re the
ones who have been bit and are willing to risk being bit again.

Not the
ones who are exhibiting their scars as badges of honor, having said that, “I
have suffered for this cause. I bore the weight of the dead.” Good grief!
We’ve heard people like that when they talk. You see it. I see it. We click it
off and go, Okay, you’re blowing a lot of smoke here, because you’re trying
to tell me what you’ve done in life.

Great! Live in the past if you choose to, but God is not asking for you to
bring up what you’ve done in the past. God is asking you and me to be a child
again. And it’s not a matter as if it’s a one-time choice. Today, I’m
going to become a child for the rest of my life
. It’s a daily struggle
that you and I are in part of.

latter part of this text is about reconciliation. Reconciliation is a
childlike quality. When you have broken your child’s heart and you apologize
to your child, they’re the quickest of all people to forgive their mommy or
daddy. And isn’t it interesting that, even if your child is twenty-five or
forty-five or fifty-five or sixty-five, when you as a parent apologize to your
child, they are very willing to forgive. That’s a childlike quality.

keeps tabs of wrongs committed. It keeps the long list and reminds others of
the list, as well as ourselves. It labels people and attitudes. All you have
to do is watch children. And also watch people in the twilight of their lives,
as well. It’s the fat middle of which you and I are a part that this text is
written toward that we ought repent of our childishness.

When you
catch a child doing something that they should not do when they’re younger,
there is a little bit of embarrassment, but in how you handle that child’s
mistake, and if you want to put yourself in this position, how your parents
should have handled you when you made a mistake, says everything about how you
are received again. One of the faults that we as parents have and were done to
us by our own parents is that we were not always received and we did not always
receive our children back in the manner that God receives His children back.

You see,
when God went to look for the one, leaving the ninety-nine on the hillside, the
one having been found by God was extremely embarrassed because he or she had
been caught having had to admit they were in the wrong. They went out too far.
They shot their mouth off. They burned their bridges behind them. They committed
what they did.

How does
your Father receive such a sheep as you back? Because the only kind of sheep
that He receives back are the lost ones, the ones who know that they’re lost,
who know that they’re childish. He seeks you in your childishness, in your
petty grievances, in your family histories of grumblings, and so on. In your
marriages, he seeks your brokenness. He seeks you in all the things of which
you are embarrassed and of which you wish not to confess to Him. He seeks that
kind of a person. That’s the only kind He seeks, because that’s the kind who
knows that they’re lost but are fearful of the receiving back that the Father

disperse all gloomy thoughts, brothers and sisters. Your Lord is very clear to
you in the text how diligent He is in finding you in your grief, in your
jealousy, in your anger, in your lack of self-confidence, in your worries and
anxieties dost He find you that He can bring you back to the fold. He does not
bring back those who are not willing to admit they’re lost. He does not bring
back those who say I don’t need you to find me. I’m fine on my own. That’s not
childlikeness. Childlikeness comes up to you and says, “Mommy, Daddy, I need
some help. Help me do this. Help me fix this.” That’s childlikeness, of which
how often have you found yourself that way with God?

Isn’t it
odd that it takes us to be put into a headlock often times before we are
willing to relent and admit. Does it have to take that each time? If so,
buckle up, because God has got a whale of a roller coaster ride to take you and
me on. Better to yield than to keep fighting God searching for you, because He
will not cease searching for you.

why you’re back each Sunday to be fed again at the table. That’s why He keeps
binding up your wounds here and healing your brokenness here, because He finds
people like you and me. And you know what He does with such broken childish
people as you and me? The same thing He does and did with the twelve. He
sends them out in their brokenness and childishness to bring other people in.
Now, that makes no business sense, but this isn’t a business. This is God’s
miracle worker shop, His hospital where people are healed, and it takes a sick
person to tell another sick person where there’s good medicine and good

God be
praised that you were brought here by someone who was sick just like you and
childish just like you. God be praised that they found that person in their
lostness, most often your parents, and they found you in your lostness. What a
great gift. That is childlikeness. That can only come by God.

The good
news? You and I have it. It’s just continually coming back and realizing
again, Yes, Lord, You’re right. Without You, I am childish. With You, I am
childlike and dependent upon the One from whom my life and soul is sustained.

In the
name of Him,


peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and your minds on
Christ Jesus to life everlasting.