“OPENING MY HANDS LIKE A CHILD”

I feel nobler when I am a giver rather than receiver.  Several years ago, a church member brought over some ripe juicy tomatoes to say thanks.  She knew I loved garden grown tomatoes.  When I told her that she should not have bothered, she read me the “Riot Act” for not being a good “receiver.”  She told me this was not an admirable quality.  She said, “Say thank you and be quiet!

When Jesus was blessing children in Mark’s gospel he says, “Unless we receive the kingdom of God like children we will never enter it.”  Jesus calls children exemplary receivers because they do not think of earning-they live with open outstretched hands.  If grown-ups act like this, we call them sluggards, or worse.  Yet, Jesus says we ought to be more like children in the way we receive.

In Jesus’ day, children were loved for what they might become, rather than what they were.  Just as in feudal times and the industrial age, children were a drag on the economy.  Charles Dickens painted this picture well.  Our sentimental view of children wasn’t so in Jesus’ day or even a hundred and fifty years ago.  Childhood is a modern invention; willed into existence over the past two centuries because we wanted a better life for our kids.

Jesus’ revolutionary teachings that children are the representation of the way God loves were shocking.  Jesus’ point is, though they don’t offer anything to God; they are the recipients of God’s love.  He was telling them and us that all any of us need to do is simply receive God’s undeserved gift of grace.  Both old and young are to become like children who know nothing can be worked for or earned; living with open hands outstretched, ready to receive God’s blessings.

So in this last “Ramblings”, I am going to say thank you and be quiet.  You have been a gracious people who have shepherded our family through a heart surgery, sick parents, and other difficult experiences over these years.  You have been good pastors to your pastor and our family.  So, I receive your kindness and understanding as the best model of God’s love.  Thank you and thanks be to our God who graciously gives in ways that cannot be measured.

Going forward like a child,

Russell

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Published in: on May 23, 2011 at 8:20 am  Leave a Comment  

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