Lessons on a 747

Liz’s mom is here right now, fresh off a flight from Boise, ID.  It reminds me of our first trans-atlantic flight with Caleb last summer . . .

One man’s face showed utter disgust. It was clear that I had somehow dramatically inconvenienced him. Another showed complete annoyance. Some were muted, showing no reaction at all. And many were full of delight, complete with smiles, giggles, and exaggerated expression. Can you guess what I was doing?

Child Crossing

I was walking Caleb up and down (and up and down, and up and down) the aisle of a 747 as we flew across the ocean. Traveling with a baby requires thick skin. Caleb travels very well (so far), but even the best young traveler is an inconvenience to those around. They cry out. They talk loudly. And they move. Even adults hate sitting for an entire 9-10 hour flight, but for a 13 month old full of energy, it’s simply an impossibility. And so we walked. Down the aisle. Up the aisle. Part way down. Part way up. Stopping to look at stranger’s faces. Hoping to evoke a reaction, a smile, a silly face . . . anything.You can tell a lot about a person by how they respond to children.

 Little children are a strange thing. In terms of output, they’re absolutely worthless. In terms of productivity, they’re a net loss. In terms of improving your value in the eyes of others, they don’t accomplish much. In fact, if your goal in life is to please yourself, better yourself, and climb the social/financial/whatever ladder, please don’t have kids. You’ll either ignore them or manipulate them, but you won’t appreciate them. Because kids are nearly worthless. You can tell a lot about a person by how they respond to children.

I get it that some people are ‘baby people’ and others aren’t. That’s fine. Some people gravitate towards children and some don’t. That’s fine, too. But we learn a lot about ourselves when we relate to children. We learn a lot about ourselves when we’re called to love those who have nothing to give in return. So, I suppose, not just kids. I learn a lot about myself when I’m invited to love someone who stinks so bad my stomach hurts. I learn a lot about myself when I have the opportunity to care for someone so poor that our relationship will always be ‘one-way.’ I learn a lot about myself when my friend with mental handicaps comes my way, and I have to decide if I’ll take the time to talk with him. We learn a lot about ourselves when we relate to those who can give nothing back.

That’s what Jesus had in mind when he rebuked His disciples for keeping the little children away. Yes, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.” Yes, all the stained glass images of Jesus with kids on his lap are appropriate. Yes, every children’s ministries director in the world should feel good that they work with people that Jesus loves. But the message for the disciples was different than that. Bigger than that. They were keeping the kids away because they thought Jesus was too busy and important to waste time on those who had nothing to offer. But Jesus flipped the tables. He said everyone must come to Him like a child, with nothing to offer but our love. You can tell a lot about a person by how they respond to children. And Jesus welcomed children—us—into His arms for love.

What did the disciples learn that day? They learned that having a heart like Jesus means loving the ‘unimportant.’ They learned that having a heart like Jesus means loving those who have nothing to give in return. They learned that having a heart like Jesus means taking time for those whom everyone else rushes past. They learned that Jesus’ kingdom is upside down. You can tell a lot about a person by how they respond to children. And how they respond to everyone else who has nothing to give in return. Jesus, give me your heart for those whom the world ignores.

Who do you think the world ignores? To leave a comment, click here: comments


Social Media Icons Powered by Acurax Web Design Company
%d bloggers like this: