Recently, while my wife and I, with our two children, were in an airport terminal awaiting our flight, we discovered a play area. The children loved it; my wife and I, however, were forbidden entrance. The entrance conditions excluded anyone more than four feet tall.
As we watched our children enjoy playing, I thought of the words of Jesus when He said, "Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3)
You see, the kingdom, or the family of God - like the airport play area - is restricted to those who are small enough to enter.
When Jesus builds His kingdom disciple by disciple, He searches out small people to take up the cross and follow Him. Jesus does not bribe great thinkers, financial tycoons or religious giants to be star converts in His kingdom.
His true church, after all, is not a stage on which to exhibit talent or celebrate success. Neither is it an arena in which to display Christian superstars, or a platform on which to parade heroes.
In fact, I know of no political, religious, or social theory that brings such radical answers to social inequality as the gospel of Jesus Christ. And in Christian churches where Jesus' teaching is followed, Christians are forced to step out of a world focused on an individual's wealth, abilities, beauty or education into a kingdom driven by ethics of love and humility. From a world of "make yourself into something" into a world where each is called to "esteem others better than themselves."
Jesus asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He answered His own question with the words in Matthew 18:3, then gave the definition of kingdom greatness: "Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Imagine! A place where a person's worth comes, not from degrees, achievements or beauty, but from humility. A kingdom where serving others is success and abandoning ourselves is achievement.
Does Jesus description of greatness surprise you?
Have you spent a lifetime pursuing society's accepted ingredients of success?
Pause for a brutally honest look within. Has self-achievement brought you heart satisfaction? Has self-focus brought you purpose and fulfillment? Or have your "successes" been well-groomed fronts for spiritual meaninglessness?
Perhaps Jesus' words merit consideration . . .
Regardless, Jesus opens the gates of His kingdom to small people. And the miracle is that, through what Jesus called the new birth, He can make great men and women small, equal, humble disciples in the fraternity of His followers.
Jesus kingdom welcomes all -- provided they are small enough. If you are small enough, or willing to be small enough, please come into His kingdom.