My little girl, Cecelia, just had her first birthday. She has been growing steadily and has even mastered the “when Johnny comes marching home again” leg-dragging crawl. She still can’t talk, although she loves to yell and get attention. Imagine with me, however, for the sake of illustration, that she could talk. Imagine with me that one day I came home from work to find Cecelia talking and in her room by herself. Engagingly, I invite her to come enjoy dinner with her family, but quickly she declines with “Dad, thanks, but I got this one. I’m alright on my own.” In that moment, of course I am going to be surprised, perhaps even overwhelmingly so. “Cecelia, you are one year old. There is no way that you will be able to take care of yourself,” I reply. Without missing a beat, she motions toward her plastic pots and pans that she got for her birthday, “Naw, Dad, I can just make myself my own food.” With that, she picks up a couple cheerios off the floor and drops them in the plastic frying pan. As she crawl-drags herself and her little plastic frying pan back across the room, she eats one of the cheerios and mutters an unconvincing, “Mmmm. That’s good!”
This would be absolutely ludicrous. That kid can’t live off of dehydrated cheerios. That kid can’t even take care of herself. It would be ridiculous for an infant to try to act self-sufficient. The very fact that she is an infant indicates that she is in need of help. This truth was made clear as a group of mothers brought their babies to Jesus. They came in search of a blessing from Jesus, but He turned it into one of the greatest object lessons of the Christian life. There Jesus sat in the midst of infants, helpless infants. “Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, shall not enter there in.” In essence, “you are a child, and I offer you the parental help that you are desperately in need of.”
The only hope that anyone has, is to place their faith in Jesus and what He has done. This is why what happened next set the truth even deeper. Immediately, a rich young ruler asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit the kingdom?” Jesus never changed His message. He was not intimidated by an inflated pocket book. Rich clothes did not impress Him. He was not overwhelmed by the latest in fashion. Without missing a beat, Jesus responded, “Sell all your stuff and give your money to the poor.” Mark went on to tell us that this was a very hard thing for this man to hear because he had many possessions.
Instead of being like a helpless child, this man had found his sufficiency in the pile of stuff he owned. The deceitfulness of his wealth had given him a sense of security that he did not want to replace with the real security of faith in Jesus. Like a toddler with a cheerio in a plastic frying pan, he turned away from the One Who could truly meet his needs and left forever unsatisfied, but self-convincing all the while.
We need faith. We must have faith, but we must have faith in that which is worth trusting in. Moth, rust, and decay destroy all things here, and whatever doesn’t rot or decay can be stolen or taken in a moment’s notice. For this reason, Jesus implores us to turn, like a helpless infant, in faith to Him away from the false security offered by our plastic cookware.
Food For Thought: Read Matthew 6:19-34. What does Jesus tell us about the value we should place on things?