“We live in a world that celebrates superficial beauty and rejects ugly, yet God sees beauty in all of us despite our ugliness. Jesus loves us just the way we are.” – Pastor Jamie Stilson, Vineyard Community Church of Cape Coral (Fla.)
Today was the first “summer” day for the kids.* We broke out the sprinkler and the heretofore unused inflatable wading pool for the purpose of joyful splashing and scampering. But after a few minutes of Daddy demonstrating how to properly jump through a sprinkler and Mommy placing Jacob (16 months old) in the wading pool, the experience ended up turning into Jacob toddling around the driveway, and Hannah (2 years) taking pleasure in using a sprinkler-free hose to water whom- or whatever she could find.
Once again, my kids have taught me a lesson in Christian living.
Have you ever seen a baby playing with the cardboard roll that once held paper towels? For all the money that we spend on baby toys with bells, whistles and familiar (to us) characters, babies seem to prefer the humble roll. They bang it on the floor or on other objects. They look through it. They talk through it. They leave all the “good” toys alone.
Jesus saw what we often miss: kids are born without pretensions. It’s us adults who muck it up and teach them what it is that they “should” value as we attempt to mold them into our own image. But, as Jesus tells us, we’ve got it backwards:
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3 (ESV)
When we make decisions in life, how often do we do what society expects us to do? Are we like infants who approach the world without prejudice? Or does our baggage influence our worldviews? Does being too much of a grownup keep us from living a spiritual life? Are we afraid that God sees us as other people see us (or as we think they see us)?
*It was 87 today. While you folks to the north might be enjoying the bliss of spring or even a late-season snowfall, we here in the Sunshine State have entered into what I call “pre-summer.” That means it’s getting hot, but still miles away from the humid torture that is a Florida summer.