And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will not enter it.Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them. Mark 10:13-16
Have you ever been busy, moving through your day, accomplishing tasks with little notice for the details of what is going on around you? Sights? Sounds? Smells? The busyness of your to-do list causing you to keep your head down and focused? Have you ever been busy like this and had your children accompany you on your errand running? If so, then you have likely felt your two worlds collide every time your child stopped to observe something in amazement. The sights, colors, sounds, smells all around them easily captivate them! They call to you to “mom, look at this!” “mom, what is that?” Meanwhile, you are oblivious to anything other than the task at hand; efficiency is your primary goal.
As they continue to stop to look at, explore, touch and experience everything they pass, you are steady urging them to “come on, leave that alone, we need to go!” You scarcely acknowledge what has captivated them and when you do focus on what is holding their attention its simple things like a display of fresh produce or a pack of bendy straws randomly placed in the bread aisle. A child’s sense of wonder and awe is what keeps them eager to learn, and keen to explore. It fuels countless questions. Somewhere along our journey to adulthood, we begin to lose this. We pay less and less attention to our surroundings, the beauty of landscapes, the fascinating way that birds migrate, and the people we encounter while out and about. In fact, we often pass others without even making eye contact.
God’s creation continually surrounding us and we rarely stop to ponder it, explore it, appreciate it, or give thanks for it. We interact less and less with one another because our days become filled with our work, whether that is at home or outside of the home. We lose our sense of wonder and perspective.
While reading this passage from Mark, I imagined these children seeing Jesus and being drawn to him, looking him in the eyes, eager to learn from him and likely to ask him many questions. They didn’t have their heads down, too busy to take notice of him. They did not rush by him because they didn't have time. They did not listen to his words and question if they really applied to them. They just wanted to draw near to him and touch him, and in turn, Jesus embraced them. He embraced them and praised their eagerness, holding it up as an example of how we should be! God wants us to appreciate all that he has given us in this world, to know our blessings, and to never take them for granted. He wants us to slow down and see our world with the same awe and wonder that children do.
God does not want us to push through our days with our heads down. He wants us to lift our heads, lift our hearts and lift our voices as we count our blessings, love one another and come to him with a childlike eagerness. He wants us to abide in him, always.
To Jesus through Mary-Amelia Maness Gilliland