At about the same time, the disciples came to Jesus asking, “Who gets the highest rank in God’s kingdom?” For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.
Matthew 18:1-5 (MSG)
Simple and elemental, interesting words used by Jesus in his ministry to describe the mind of a child.
What does it mean to be simple and elemental?
What does it mean to return to square one?
What does it mean to become like a child again?
In his ministry, Jesus would often respond to the problems of this world by inspiring those around him to humble themselves to the level of a child, while embracing a child’s innocence towards the world as the beginning point of the realization of the realm of God. It is the concept of innocence that allows children to look at the world around them and imagine possibilities and ways of being with one another that has been tainted or made complicated by the lived “experience” of the adults around them.
Yet, is the world as complicated as adults would have children grow up to believe?
Or is the world’s complexities a mixture of self-imposed limitations that are drilled inside the minds of children as they begin to grow up?
Looking at a child’s mind is like looking into a blank canvas, one that anything is possible; therefore, nothing is impossible. A child’s imagination liberates them from the rigidity of the world and exposes them to a world of possibilities where the binary and rigid rules of the adult world, do not limit the potential for change and innovation in the child’s world. It is that way of thinking and that liberated mind that makes children the number one resource of the human race. For inside the mind and imagination of each child in our world, there is the potential for greatness and change that if cared for and guided with love and understanding can dismantle the complexities of the adult world and truly help bring about the reign of God.