In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Matthew 18:1
The other day I was out in my neighborhood when I noticed a little boy out for a walk with his grandmother. I watched as he eagerly bent down in the dirt and used a stick she had given him to make designs in the sand. I smiled as I thought about his enthusiasm with something as simple as a stick and some mud. Then I began to remember when my own kids were younger. They had that same eagerness about them. It was a “get-to” attitude. My normal, mundane chores were exciting to them. Many times they would ask me if they could help with the vacuuming or folding the laundry. When the day was over and they would describe their momentous accomplishment to someone else, they would always use the phrase: “I got to vacuum today or I got to fold the laundry.” And, of course, the best times were when they would “get-to” help mom make cookies!
My kids are now fully grown. I’m not sure when the “get-to” attitude of childhood was actually replaced, I am sad to say, by a “have to” attitude. I wasn’t really paying attention to that precise moment when the enthusiasm of childhood was swallowed up by the responsibilities of adulthood. I have no doubt that subtle switch happens at different times and for different reasons in every person’s life. We move on in life, accomplishing the things that once were new and exciting with drudgery because they have been tainted by routine.
Then I began to wonder if I was like that in my relationship with God. When we become new believers, filled with the awe and wonder of Jesus, our attitude is often a “get-to” attitude. We get to read our bibles. We get to go to bible study. We get to serve. We get to pray! Jesus says in Matthew 18:2-3, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” But something happens along the way as we walk with Him. Our wonder is replaced by familiarity and soon that “get to” attitude is replaced by a “have to” attitude. Do you find yourself saying “I have to go to church” or “I have to read my bible” or “I have to pray”? Do you have to or do you get to read your bible daily and meditate on God’s Word? Are you burdened by guilt when you don’t do those things? And so, Jesus reminds us by taking a child to Himself that we are to have that same attitude that children have if we are to inherit the Kingdom of heaven. Like the little boy with the stick and the mud, we get to do things that non-believers would view as religious nonsense because we are citizens of heaven. We get to fellowship with God. We get to pray to Him whenever we want. And we get to be loved by the King of Kings! It just doesn’t GET better than that.