There is no child like a child.

It often happens that we underestimate the mindset of a child, thinking that when he is small, he does not understand things, that he is inexperienced, and so on. And often, this is true. And yet, even children can be learned from those who think they are wise.

The Lord Jesus also says to us: “Most assuredly, I say to you: Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven…” (Mt. 18:3).

The Gospel passage begins to deal with the church hierarchy. Matthew collects more sayings of the Lord Jesus on this subject. We know that the apostles were arguing over which one came first. When the Lord Jesus made Peter the head of the apostles, they were arguing. Therefore, the Lord Jesus condemns this kind of thinking, because here it is a selfish assertion. And this is what the Lord Jesus wants to deliver them from. In doing so, He uses the simile of a child standing next to Him. He thus made it clear to the apostles that whoever wants to enter the kingdom of heaven must be like a child.

A child is aware of its smallness. The most typical characteristic of a child is that he needs the help of another and is dependent on it.
But how do I become a child when I am already an adult? Jesus pointed to the child. Everyone should notice something valuable in a child: a pure and sincere relationship with another. There is no greatness in the kingdom of heaven that one can work one’s way up to in one’s own strength, but only from humbly accepting unmerited grace and prioritizing God’s love.

We all know well that self-exaltation and jealousy have already hindered much in the work of the kingdom of God! The saints have always been the humblest because they knew what grace is. For us it means so much to realize that a true disciple must not push himself to the forefront but must also see his role as one of chivalrously taking up the little ones, not only children, but all the weak whom the world so often so cruelly overlooks. The sight of the Lord Jesus is the sight of the little one who comes into the world as a child. And not only that. Even the sight of the cross speaks of a “little Christ.”

The text says clearly and thoughtfully that whoever does not become a child again, whoever does not radically begin to live a new life, will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

What is the new life? It is the gift of God. One must accept it as truth and love from the Lord God. If he acknowledges his dependence on God and fills it with faith and love, that is a new life. He becomes like a child dependent on God, dependent on His help. And in so doing, he also becomes the greatest in God’s kingdom. That is because there are different laws there than in this world. He who is small in the world is great before God. Conversely, he who thinks he is great in the world is small before God.

Therefore, even the leaders of the Church must realize that they have to be small before the world if they want to be great before God. Consequently, he who governs must be governed by God Himself. And so the foremost place in the Church is played by obedience.

Let us not only learn to have a right relationship with children but learn from them to have a right relationship with God.

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