Life has a way of making us grow up, doesn’t it? Age brings responsibility multiplied. First there’s graduating from school. Then there’s the decision of taking on more school or jumping into a career. Family. Bills. Property maintenance. Job requirements. People-pleasing to get ahead. Grocery shopping on a budget.
If someone we know isn’t living up to our expectations of responsibility level compared to their age, we roll our eyes and wish they would just grow up!! Don’t they know how disappointing their choices are?? Being childlike isn’t exactly honorable these days, is it?
But there is one area we are expected to be like children.
Luke 10 recounts the sending out of the 72 disciples, who were given much the same instruction as the 12 in chapter 9. When they returned from their assignment excited about the authority they had been able to exercise, Jesus was overjoyed as well!
“At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, ‘O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.'” (Luke 10:21 NLT).
Now wait just a minute. If you were a disciple having just come back from exercising power over demons, would you like to be called “childlike”?? I think I would have expected more of something like Lieutenant Grand Master or Deputy Chief!
But no, Jesus called these very same men “childlike,” and was happy that they were so!
He had called fishermen and tax collectors, among others. These men had no high role in society to speak of, and had a humble view of themselves. But they were chosen above prophets and kings to see what they saw and to hear what they heard.
“I tell you, many prophets and kings longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it” (Luke 10:24).
Yes, we are called to mature in our faith. But there is an aspect of trust in which the follower of Christ is expected to remain young-at-heart, no matter what happens through life’s circumstances.
“One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.‘ Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them” (Mark 10:13-16).
Young children trust what they hear. The disciples may not have understood all that Jesus said or taught (see Luke 9:45 for example), but they trusted that what He said was truth. Do you trust that what the Word of God says is true and can be relied on?
Young children don’t have time for worry. They trust that they will be cared for, and leave the details to the grown-ups. When Jesus sent out the 12 and then the 72, He told them to not sweat the details — they would be provided for. They went in obedience, and we don’t read of anyone returning with complaints of not getting what they needed! They trusted God for provision.
Jesus had plenty to say about worry versus trust.
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:31-33).
“Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, ‘That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?'” (Luke 12:22-26).
Paul reiterates this idea in his letter to the church in Philippi:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
This idea of worry is mentioned again later in Luke 10, when Martha gets upset with her sister for not helping her get dinner ready.
“But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her'” (Luke 10:41-42).
In this instance, Mary’s childlike faith got her in trouble with her sister, but her attention was on her Lord’s words. She was seeking first the Kingdom of God.
No matter how many candles are on our birthday cake or how many trials we have lived through, we can still find peace in humbly trusting our heavenly Father to care for us.
My friend, there is freedom, peace, and joy in being young-at-heart! Please, don’t grow up!