Are you childlike? Last night I was reading in Matt. 18:3-4 which says, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Children are teachable. Children are humble. Children are dependent and must rely upon their parents.
Dr. Black often uses children as an example in his language classes. He says something to this affect, “I believe that children acquire language easier than adults because they are humble. When they speak, they are constantly subject to correction. How is this correction received? It is received with humility…the child does not become enraged but continues speaking.”
Over the past 4-5 years I have served in both pastoral and teaching roles. I worked alongside the pastors and elders in my local congregation, and I was always in theological dialogue with them. When a sermon was preached I was often asked to provide immediate criticism. Even when I was not asked for my input I was always listening to the sermon and developing a list of criticisms.
“What is wrong with theological discussion and listening critically?,” you might ask. Nothing. But it is easy to stand outside teaching as a critic instead of placing oneself under biblical truths proclaimed in order to be critiqued and transformed accordingly. It is easy to think ourselves mature and no longer in need of correction.
My recent transition to a new church entailed leaving behind my internship, which included preaching, teaching, critiquing and any other “ings” you can come up with associated with some form of authority. I am no longer in a position of authority. Few people know who I am, as if to say I am someone special.
This has been a healthy experience. Even though I am not serving in a teaching capacity, I am actively involved in our new home. Few know that I graduated from SEBTS with an MDiv. Even fewer know that I have doctoral aspirations. I try not to make these things public knowledge; I want to sit under teaching. I know that in Matthew Jesus is speaking about the hearts of those who will inherit the kingdom of heaven. The passage is contrasted with the rich man who asks, “What must I do to inherit eternal life” and the disciples questions, “Who will be greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Nevertheless, I think that the truth should still be characteristic of the believer. Am I childlike? Am I always looking to my heavenly Father for direction? Am I constantly looking to his Son? Am I submitting myself to His truths proclaimed through His servants?
This has been excruciatingly humbling experience. There are a great number of moments that I want to take the reigns and start teaching/instructing. I want to dismiss what I am being taught because it could be articulated better. I want to say, “Hey! I’m important, don’t you know who I am?” Pride constantly rears its ugly head and whispers in my ears, “you’re are special and more important than others.” I must constantly look to my Father in order to help win this game of Whack-a-Mole.