I remember the first time I saw my wife before she was my wife. My heart turned a gooey mess and my legs felt a little rubbery. That has been 33+ years ago and I can still say my heart does funny things when I see my wife who is now my wife.... :) Well, yesterday, my heart turned mushy and I wasn't looking at my wife. Now hold on, there is nothing to be alarmed about here.
We started a campaign at First church to support our food bank. We had soup bowls passed throughout the church and gathered spare cash and change. The ushers canvassed the aisles and as one usher turned to head to the back of the church, I saw a little girl reach out her hand to offer her money. The usher didn't immediately see her, but grandma got his attention and he returned. This little precious child dropped her money in the bowl and therein contributed to feed the hungry in our town. That, my friends, is the church in action.
The innocence of children is both precious and influential. Grown adults who long ago lost their innocence and childlike faith need to observe and imitate the littlest of our congregants. Training our kids and grandkids the importance of church and worship include elements like generosity and service. This little girl is learning that not all people have the same things she has. She is learning that sharing what she has with someone less fortunate is a way to bless another person and experience the blessing of giving. Scripture places children in high regard throughout and we would do well to pay attention to them more. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah was foretelling the coming Christ child.
"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the
LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the
Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD— and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not
judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he
will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth
with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down
with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The
cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the
ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the
viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the
knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner
for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. (Isaiah 11:1-10, NIV)
The arrival of Jesus the first time announced to the world that sin no longer held sway over humanity. Jesus will return a second time and there will finally be eternal peace for which to celebrate. Crazy events will highlight the return of Christ. Wild animals will exist with domestic animals. Children will interact with both. Interesting that Isaiah mentioned a child and infant here in chapter 11.
To have the faith of a child means we adults will have to let go of a lot of pridefulness. We'll need to let go of our jaded view of God's grace and open our hands to freely receive it. We'll need to offer our gifts with the heart of children who understand little about life but believe the best is yet to come. Now you know why my heart is feeling softer today. Stay young my friends.