=”” width=”300″ height=”165″ /> Last Sunday someone spoke highly of my eight year old son, Colin. This person said, “there is something spiritual about Colin.” I, of course, took this as a complement and was glad to hear that folks have a positive perception on my child. On the other hand, I quickly asked the person if they would like to come to the house at homework time. Colin is not unlike every other child who at times seems to have horns, not a halo.
Later that day Colin and I were reading a book about tornados and other extreme weather, and we got to a section that talked about wind. This book talked about how ancient Greeks believed that Aeolus, the god of wind, controlled the winds. This led to a discussion of how the Greeks had an elaborate system of gods that were in charge of the various aspects of life. Colin, in a very serious and almost indignant manner quickly proclaimed, “There is only ONE GOD!” Earlier that day, his Sunday School class was studying the Ten Commandments and his response was rooted in that teaching.
Last night Colin then did something that I believe falls into the category “spiritual.” With the weather turning warmer, we can once again start walking after dinner and last night we did so with a purpose. Colin wanted to make sure that we delivered invitations to our church Easter egg hunt to a few of his friends that live around us. So with great zeal we walked and made our deliveries. By the end of our walk, Colin had singlehandedly invited 28 people to our church. This of course included moms, dads, sisters, brothers and even a few grandparents. One of his friends who is going to be at Disney on April 7th even offered to pass the invitation on to someone else.
I share these stories not to show off my pride in Colin, although I am very proud of his growing spiritual ability and awakening. The real reason I share the story of these incidents is because I have found that his witness is convincing and convicting. In Scripture we have multiple instances where children are held up as being spiritual role models. Jesus is seen as having a heart for children and more than once reminds us that we should embrace the spiritual perspective of children. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14) He also spoke of how we should receive the kingdom, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15)
This is not a call to childish faith, but a child-like faith. By this, I mean that we need to make sure we are developing a mature faith that acts with wisdom but not at the expense of embracing wonder. When I look at Colin and other children, I see many aspects of faith and life I wish I had more of. Some of these are:
- An ability to embrace the impossible.
- A perspective on the world that doesn’t separate the physical and the spiritual.
- A willingness to take risk. (The idea of inviting a friend is natural to them.)
- Clear concepts of right and wrong inform how they make decisions.
- Love is real and unconditional.
Of course as adults, we learn that the world is far more nuanced. I’m not sure that this is always an asset to us though. We often give up these child-like components of our life in the name of maturity. We have heard the Apostle Paul say that he put away childish ways. I believe this is a reflection on Paul’s desire for us to not act childish, not as a call to stop embracing the world with some of the aspects listed above.
How can we be mature Christians while embracing some of the very positive aspects of a Child-like faith?