by Sherri Wynn
It’s hard to top all the lessons four-year-olds can teach adults. My grandson, Corbin, is a perfect example. His world revolves around his Matchbox cars. Hours of play time always include providing for his cars: building them roads, parking garages, drive-up windows, and of course, car washes. Lincoln Logs are his favorite building material, but he happily uses anything available to create intersections, entrance/exit ramps, and yes, more parking lots. That’s his focus.
One day, when his mom sat on the floor to play cars with him, she tried to add on to one of his overhead bridges. He smiled and told her what she was doing wouldn’t work. She smiled back, assured him it would, and a few steps later realized he was right.
I’ve often thought God intentionally uses children to teach us lessons because as adults, we can be a little too full of ourselves. We’re in charge, right? So why does God send us messages in Scripture telling us we need to be more like children?
In the book of Matthew, Jesus’ disciples asked him which of them was most important in God’s kingdom. As always, Jesus had the perfect answer. He pulled a small child from the crowd surrounding them and said, “Unless you change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3 NASB).
I can imagine the shock on those disciples’ faces. “Hey, Jesus” they might have said. “We’re the chosen twelve, remember? You picked us to live and work with you. That’s just a child there, who has no idea what you’re teaching or how holy you are.” Of course, Jesus remembered exactly who was who that day. Most importantly, Jesus was again the patient teacher showing his disciples that what they were doing wouldn’t work, that a child understood humility better than any of them.
A child may not have adult-level knowledge, but that little one knows love when he or she sees it and responds accordingly. Maybe that’s why Jesus went on to say, “So whoever will humble himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4 NASB).
I don’t know about you, but I fall into this trap way too often, the trap of thinking I’m so good I ought to be in front of the line for things. In God’s eyes, of course, I really am that special, because Jesus came to earth for the sole purpose of reconciling each one of us with God by removing our sin. God is holy, and we can’t come close to him without Jesus first switching our sins over to him so he can blanket us with his own holiness and forgiveness.
Being special enough to give your life for is a different kind of special. It doesn’t make me superior—far from it. It makes me grateful and humble and crazy in love with a God who would do all that for me. Jesus himself modeled humility for us: “He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8 NIV); and “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29 NIV). If Jesus values humility, so should I. I need to keep my focus on Jesus rather than myself.
Jesus freely and humbly gives us the incomparable riches of his grace and mercy. And He often uses four-year-olds to smile and patiently explain that what we adults are doing won’t work.
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:2 NASB
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Dr. Sherri Wynn is the founder and president of the International Christian Education Foundation, a nonprofit that provides custom curriculum to organizations and individuals. Her educational books can be found on Amazon. She also contributed two guest chapters to Not Just an Elder’s Wife through e2Ministries Inc. She is speaking at their summer conference in July.
Join the conversation: Have you ever learned from a child?