Children of the Kingdom

Few verses have received as much critical and devotional attention as this one.

"Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 18:3).

Without adding to the immense volume of commentary this verse has already received, I'd like to offer just one thought that has meant a lot in my own life, and which has been vital for my interpretation of what Jesus is telling us here.


Whenever I am around children for an extended time, I am reminded of my childhood. I remember it as a time of wonder, a time when anything seemed possible. Dragons and princesses? Sure, why not? Fairies and witches? I was convinced there were a few in my neighborhood.

Children have the incredible capacity to wonder and to be open to the broadest range of possibilities. Children pick up on things we can't see. They find different sides to stories you've heard a thousand times. They see the world, often more clearly than I do. 


Sadly, we lose that capacity as we get older. We lose our sense of wonder, and grow accustomed to "the way things are." Kids have a simple, yet wonder-filled faith and curiosity that many of us spend our adult years trying to recover.


Paul tells us, "do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind" (Rom 12:2). I believe this is a more philosophical way of saying "turn and become like children." That is, return to wonder, return to awe, be open to the full range of possibilities, be open to miracles.


Wonder is the way to be open to God - may we never lose it. It renews the mind; it is the way to become like children. Jesus says it is the way into the Kingdom.


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