Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Hiding In Thee"1 (Lyrics)
Mark 9:35b-36a – [Jesus] said, "Whoever who wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else." Then he put a little child among them. (NLT)
"But we're only twelve years old."
I've heard this statement — or variations of it — numerous times. One of my tasks as a middle-school English teacher entails instilling responsibility in the students. At their age, most of them buck my efforts. Even though I give them due dates for their projects and papers on the first day of class, most of them never look at the syllabus again. They'd rather ask me and depend on me to remind them.
Although the school handbook states that students must consult their teachers about make-up work, many fail to do so and receive a reduction in their grades or even zeros. Some parents think that we're overly tough on their young children, but we know that teaching children responsibility — even when it stings — will benefit them later in life.
Jesus, however, used reverse psychology. While on the way to Capernaum, His disciples argued about which of them was the greatest. Ironically, Jesus didn't say that it was the one who was the most responsible but rather the one who was most dependent. And He put a child in their midst to demonstrate it.
Jesus' intention was a little different. Total dependence on someone else is risky and unhealthy. Total dependence on Him is essential and spiritually healthy. Children, at least initially, have total trust in their parents. Jesus wants the same from us. Total trust leads to a spiritually fulfilled life. Jesus will never disappoint us and will always guide us in the right direction.
In the same way that students often expect their teachers to answer all their questions, children often think that their parents know everything. Later, they discover that they didn't. Jesus, on the other hand, does know all things. He is omniscient. Since He knows all things — past, present, and future — we can place our total trust in Him.
Children also think that their parents can do everything. Hearing "I thought that you knew how to do everything," when children discover that their parents aren't all-knowing isn't that unusual. Jesus, however, can do all things. He's all powerful — omnipotent.
Perhaps most basic of all, children believe that their parents will care for them — now and forever. Many do; unfortunately, many don't. Jesus always will. He never abandons His children.
Are we trusting Christ like a child?
Prayer: Father, help us to trust You as children do their parents. Amen.