SCRIPTURE: Mark 10:15 (TM)
Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in.
Robert Fulghum wrote in the Kansas City Times, "Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.
"These are the things I learned: Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody . . . When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. " This writer has captured part of what Jesus meant when he said, "Unless you become like little children, you won't enter the kingdom of heaven."
It was some years ago when Mr. Fulghum’s list of what he had learned in kindergarten was very popular. It probably would be a wise decision for us to return to that list repeatedly to remind ourselves that in all of our adulthood “smarts” we really are not much smarter than a 5-year old.
Oh, there might be degrees on the wall and a Ph.D. after our name, but real wisdom was gained not by sitting in a classroom or taking a test, but just relating to other 5-year olds in the playground’s sandbox. Books might line our walls and could be stacked on the end table. We could consume them, as we should, but real wisdom came much earlier to us and via a means that we too often forget.
Somewhere along the way of growing up we have forgotten the powerful lessons learned as a 5-year old … “hold hands and stick together.” The world can be a very scary place. Maybe that is way most 5-year olds hold on to the leg of their parent and hide behind that parent when confronted with a crowd. They’ve learned the valuable to lesson of whom they really trust because the world is really strange … and getting stranger by the day.
“Hold hands” because we are not in this thing by ourselves. “Stick together” because we are stronger in a group than by ourselves. “Say we’re sorry” when we’ve hurt somebody … or passed on an untruth about somebody … or gossiped behind their backs – “even when it had some truth to it, but it was character destructive in nature.” “Clean up our own mess” and not expect someone else to come behind us to put our stuff away.
Valuable lessons for the 21st Century. Valuable lessons for living. Valuable lessons to keep ever before us. Valuable lessons that we often forget as we try to control our world. A child comes to the realization that they really are not in control and must rely on someone else. They cannot drive. They cannot work for a living. They cannot manage a household. They cannot cook. They are not in control.
Jesus knew that and pointed us in the direction that we, especially as adults, have got to trust God for the outcome. That no matter how hard we try we are not in control. We have a divine parent whose leg we can hold on to and when confronted with the old scary world we can take refuge behind.
Thank you for being our Divine Parent. Help us never to forget that valuable lesson.