At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.' - Matthew 18:1-5.
Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells are as some writers have noted "self-made men in love with their maker." The length of Parcells tenure as the coach of the Dallas Cowboys is definitely in doubt. Can their two gigantic egos withstand the constant collisions they will inevitably have? We may laugh at Jones and Parcells but in the American mind many envy their independence and self-reliance. It is part of the Code of the West to be self-reliant. To be able to stand on your own two feet and live life without anyone having to help you out is an admirable accomplishment. Being independent and self-reliant are traits that many are taught from the time they are born.
But Jesus says what? ".unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." We are to become like a child. One of the characteristics of children is that they are completely dependent and they realize it. You'll never hear a five-year-old child saying, "I'm a self-made, independent child who makes it on my own."
You'll never hear anything like that from a child. Instead you'll hear things like "I'm hungry," "Will you get that for me?" "Help me," and, "Will you carry me?"
In the Kingdom of God we too need to become like little children - children who are completely dependent upon their God. The apostle Paul tells us, ".we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us (2 Corinthians 1:9-10)."
We are to be disciples and part of the definition of a true disciple is being dependent upon your teacher. Instead, of being self-made men and women we must instead depend upon God for everything. A frequent statement made by Bill Clinton was that if you see a turtle on a fence post you know somebody put it there. Alex Haley the author of Roots and many others have said much the same thing. Haley says, "Every time I'm tempted to think, 'aren't I marvelous? Look at all I've accomplished!' I look at the picture I have on the wall of a turtle on a fence post and remember how this turtle - me - got up on that post." Becoming holy, becoming great in the Kingdom of God by ourselves is about as possible as a turtle climbing a fence post. The fact is that we cannot do it on our own. We need His help. We must depend on Him just like a little child.
To live the overcoming abundant Christian life we must reach a place of surrender and absolute dependence upon our God. We must become like little children trusting Him for every detail of our lives.
Copyright © 2004. Ed Wrather. Used with Permission. On June 8, 1998 the email version of the Burning Bush Devotional was first sent.