What would you say is the top characteristics of someone you would a label great? The disciples asked Jesus about who is great and the first characteristic He listed was humility. I am guessing if you surveyed 100 people today and asked them site their top characteristic of someone great, humility would not make the list. In Matthew 18:4 Jesus says, “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
When I read this verse I find myself asking “How did this child humble himself?” After all, if Jesus is using this child as an example of greatness in His Kingdom, I want to know the secret. The key to finding the secret is the word “therefore” at the beginning of the sentence. It tells us this thought is connected to another so all we have to do is back up a few verses.
If you back up to verse 2 you find the first and only other mention of this child. It says, “He called a little child and had him stand among them.” There is your secret to being great in the Kingdom of God. Isn’t it profound? You might still be asking “What is it?” and that’s okay. Let’s look at the sentence and figure it out. First, Jesus called the child. That’s good news for all of us because He calls all of us to Him. We’re all one step closer to greatness in the Kingdom than we realized, but that isn’t the key. The key is how the child responded. Jesus called the child to Him and the child came…he was obedient. We don’t see the child saying “Let me finish my lunch” or “I’ll be there in a minute” or “I’ll come at a commercial.” The sentence says Jesus called him and had him stand among them. For the child to stand among them and be used as an example, he had to come when he was called.
The secret to greatness in the Kingdom is obedience. The child didn’t know what Jesus was going to do but he came anyway because he trusted Jesus. He knew whatever Jesus was calling him to do would not harm him. He knew whatever Jesus wanted him to do would be okay because Jesus was right there with him. Are you seeing where this is going?
I used to teach kindergarten. I loved my students and they knew it. I could get them to do anything I asked them to because they knew I loved them and they trusted me. If we could grasp how much Jesus loves us and actually believe it, then immediate obedience wouldn’t be a problem. The problem comes when we begin to ask “what if” questions. We ask those questions because we don’t completely trust Him. If we trusted Him completely, we would simply come when called and do what we were asked immediately like “this child.”
Do you hear Jesus calling you today? What is He asking you to do? Do you trust Him enough to do it? If you do, His word tells us greatness will follow.