• johned@aibi.ph

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Eternity 46 - The Child In The Kingdom

Mark 10:15 ASV Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein.

Today I was taken around the squatter areas and slums of Manila, viewing pre-schools being established among the poorest of the poor, in tiny rooms in back alleys, by dedicated Filipino teachers paid less than $100 a month.

As I did so I was struck by the eagerness to learn in every child, they all had their hands up, they all wanted to please the teacher, their eyes shone as they repeated "Today is Monday" in loud voices.

In every child was the same intense curiosity, the same urge to discover more about their world. Jesus says this same intense curiosity is essential to salvation, that unless we want to discover the Kingdom of Heaven and learn about it - we will never enter in.

These small children were in the process of "being saved" attending Christian pre-schools, learning about God and numbers and the alphabet at the same time.

Amid the squalor of the docks with crime and prostitution these tiny classrooms were packed to the brim with children and noise and were an island of hope. Not unlike the church in the world.

They were learning their way out of the mess. They were learning about Jesus who could save their souls as well as more mundane things that were foundational to getting a job one day and leaving behind their corrugated tin shanties and cardboard walls.

They had another world in view, a world of hope. They were learning in hope of a better future, learning by faith in God. So must it be with the Christian - a hopeful learning and an eager yearning for the Kingdom.

Its when we become sophisticated, when we think we know the world, when we no longer explore it, love it, no longer "believe' any more, no longer hope any more, no longer wake up with wide eyes and eager hearts..it is then we are unredeemable.

Such people have shut down the camera of their hearts, switched off the desire to know and now sit in a futile and cynical darkness without any escape.

The Pharisees and Sadducees had one thing in common - they both had lost their curiosity about God. The Pharisees because they thought they knew it all, the Sadducees because they had thrown out all mystery.

Self-satisfaction and worldy cynicism can mask as maturity. Such know-alls and cynics can indeed appear wise, but in reality they have lost Wisdom's central virtues - curiosity, joy, humility, eagerness, hope and faith. The virtues of the child.

The Kingdom is not a doctrine to be known in detail and then to become ho-hum. The Kingdom is a realm, a world, a place to be eagerly and delightfully explored!

Its a place for hope-full, faith-filled wide-eyed people who just want to find out more and more about what God has in store for them and who live in hope of leaving "shanty-town" Earth for the big bright world of the courts of Heaven.

The Kingdom is not a place for immature behavior, for childishness, but it is a place for a mature child-likeness, for the shining eye and the eager heart. Its a place for people to connect with the God who can redeem them and who loves and instructs them.

Its a mustard seed amid the docks and a small child finding faith in the midst of a big bad world.

Its eternity breaking through all class and social barriers to touch lives on a daily basis.

Its a Kingdom that can appear anywhere, to anyone who knows its "at hand" and who is eager to enter in.

No worldly knowledge is needed, no great pretensions or status. Who wants to enter the Kingdom - put your hands up children!


John Edmiston


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