I volunteered at a bible camp as a teenager, working as a cabin leader. While I was there, our camp began offering a single overnight for 6 & 7 year olds, PeeWee Camp. We had never offered a camp for children this young before. It was new territory for camper and staff alike. We wanted to give these kids a taste of bible camp, so we organized a camp wide game. But we knew we had to keep it simple. So it was entitled ‘Find The Cabin Leader’. All the cabin leaders hide (in pretty obvious spots) and the kids had to was find us and call out, ‘Found you!”. No tagging, no extraneous rules. What could go wrong?
No major difficulties but one unexpected element did provide me with humorous memories. I chose to hid atop one of the outhouses. The kids didn’t have to climb up to get me, and so I figured I would be pretty easy to spot, which I was. But the first three kids that spotted me just looked at me and walked away. Finally, with fourth kid I realized I had to encourage him to call me out. Later, in talking with other staff members, we all had the same experience. We hadn’t anticipated how timid little kids can be, especially in the presence of strangers.
Thankfully, Jesus knows all about this. He knows kids aren’t going to barge their way into His presence. And in fact, rather than ushering them in, His disciples are actively trying to impede them. So Jesus’ response:
“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Not only does He encourage them to call out “Found you!”, He validates that they too are inheritors of God’s kingdom, one equal footing with anyone with a beard or eyes wrinkled with crowfeet. For all our wokeness, Jesus still puts us to shame for our ageism.
But children cannot comprehend the vastness of what it means to be a citizen of heaven we argue. But do adults? Listen to Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Did you catch that? He prays that we would grasp what surpasses knowledge– the love of Christ. In the hubris of our elder years, we think because we have been given the stewardship of instructing younger generations that we are no longer students. Oh fellow Christian, what riches overflow the storehouses of heaven and we quibble that others cannot grasp the spare change we keep in our pocket! Open your eyes. Open your heart.
Lord, soften my heart. Expand my imagination.