Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 16, 1968

"As A Little Child"


"In that hour came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And he called to him a little child, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 18:1-3)

The innocent trust of a little child, the willingness to believe completely and without question that which is told him is one quality essential to true discipleship. This particular passage emphasizes the idea of humility and unselfishness; but there are certainly other qualities of little children which must be present also in the heart of every true believer. We ran across an item the other day which tells the story. It is a re-print from an old, old issue of the New York Times, and is as follows:

-A woman's most delightful age is 7. At 7 she sits on a man's knee without hesitation, affected or genuine, and without putting the knee to sleep. She enjoys listening to him, encourages him to talk and believes any story he tells. Her curiosity over what became of his hair is sometimes embarrassing, but her sympathy with him in his loss is unquestionably sincere.

While unduly interested, perhaps, in the state of his exchequer and never too proud to accept pecuniary aid, she is no gold digger whose gratitude is measured by the amount of his contribution. For as little as two copper cents (this was written a long time ago:) she will bear-hug his spectacles all out of shape and he knows she means it.

At 7 she is more of less front-toothless, to be sure. But then she doesn't yet chalk her nose or paint her nails and she hasn't begun to use tobacco. All in all, a most charming age.- A charming age, indeed! And how quickly it is gone. Yet the faithful follower of Christ brings alive again in his own life and attitude the loving trust and confidence of the seven-year old — directed this time toward God rather than man. His strong desire always is to know the will of God; not that he may argue about it, or seek to "restructure" it to fit a modern society, but only that he may DO it. He wants to please God. He seeks God's approval regardless of how much disfavor this may bring from man. Actually, he is rather indifferent both to the applause and to the anathemas of men; they mean little to him. He "walks to the beat of a different drum."

Through all the long centuries this spirit has been dominant in the life of every true believer. It could not be otherwise. For if Christianity means anything at all to us, it must mean everything. And if Christianity means everything to us, then the rewards (as well as the sorrows) of this world are relatively unimportant. So it was with the venerable Paul when he said to the Ephesian elders, "But I hold not my life of any account as dear unto myself, so that I may accomplish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." And in the same vein he spoke to his friends and fellow-travelers in Philip's house in Caesarea when they were trying to dissuade him from going up to Jerusalem, "What do ye, weeping and breaking my heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 21:13) His friends could not stop him with their tears, nor could his enemies with their threats. He was seeking the favor of God, not men.

In these troubled and chaotic days, when it would seem that the very world itself is writhing in confusion and uncertainty, it is well for the child of God to remember his heritage, to recall that he is "as a little child" seeking to please his Father. The haughty step and proud look are not for him; the arrogant irreverence of an unbelieving generation moves him not at all. He KNOWS whom he has believed; and while the world outside grows ever darker and more threatening, the world inside is calm and unruffled. The little child is not bothered by the wild storm outside, for he knows that his father will not let anything harm him. And the Christian is equally at ease and equally confident by reason of his trust in a Heavenly Father.

Seven years old! A charming and delightful age for a little girl. And what a wonderful thing it is to see this same beautiful spirit, full grown and mature, in the life and heart of a disciple of Christ.

F. Y. T.