“But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.'” (Luke 17:16-17)
When Jesus says we are to receive the kingdom of heaven as little children He means we must have faith, we must trust him completely, and accept His grace freely without doubting. Look at young children, babies, toddlers, preschoolers before they have been influenced by the media or by adults who even with the best of intentions can have an adverse affect on a child’s personality. They are totally dependent on their parents for protection, nurture, emotional support, spiritual guidance and physical sustenance. And they have no thought as to what they have to do to earn it. They expect it. They, as Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount, take no thought of the cares of tomorrow.
And kids are very trusting. They expect you to love them, to bless them with presents and goodies. Give them a treat or a present and they will take it without question. They are trusting and innocent. Give an adult the same treat, and we refuse it. We stammer, I don’t deserve this. I have done nothing for this. We feel the need to justify ourselves. Unfortunately for me, I learned very early that love is conditional, even the love of God. If you get a gift you have not tingtearned, if you get a gift you have no right to, you do not deserve it. And I live today with the legacy of that lesson and maybe some of you do too. We feel we have to earn God’s love by doing good or religious deeds. But God’s love is unconditional. Jesus says to us to come to Him as children with nothing but trust and expectation, not doubting. He will supply our need.