God's Children

By the Rev. Lee Woofenden

Bridgewater, Massachusetts, May 21, 2000
Children's Sunday


Psalm 8 How majestic is your name!

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.
From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
Because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
The moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
What are human beings,
that you are mindful of them,
Mortals, that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion
over the works of your hands;
You have put everything under their feet:
All flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
All that swim the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Matthew 18:1-5 Becoming like children

The disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

Jesus called a little child, and had the child stand in front of them. He said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name, welcomes me."


"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)

Now, this is ought to cause some consternation for those of us who are parents. We spend all this time and energy trying to get our children to grow up and become mature adults, and then Jesus turns around and tells us that we are the ones who need to change--and become like little children!

I have to admit that as a parent, I have mixed feelings about this. It will come as no surprise to the parents in the congregation that however well my kids may behave here, they squabble a lot at home! After Patty and I have gone through a particularly bad day, in which one argument followed another as jealousy over matchbox cars, stuffed animals, and trading cards erupted into name-calling, shoving, hitting, and kicking, the last thing we want to hear is Jesus telling us that we have to change and become like little children!

Of course, when I think about all the squabbling we adults do, I picture the Lord as the exasperated parent pleading with us, "Now children, be nice! Stop your squabbling and behave yourselves!"

We like to think that the things we adults fight about are so much more important than the toys and treasured objects that children fight about. But are they really? A thousand years from now, when we have long since left this earth for our eternal home, how much will it matter whether we won or lost that argument--or that war? How much will it matter whether we got those few extra dollars--or a few billion more dollars? How much will it matter whether some jerk crumpled our fender--or blew up a building?

If we are honest with ourselves, we will realize that in many ways, we have never stopped acting like little children. We still get upset about things that, from God's perspective, are nothing more than children's playthings. We still forget that other people's feelings are much more important than the neato "toys" they have--and we wish we had. We still forget that what's important is not what people think of us and how they treat us, but rather what we think of them, and how we treat them. We still forget that in the end, the only thing that really matters is how well we have followed the Lord's commandment to love one another as he has loved us.

As far as the Lord is concerned, we are all little children. In the short span of years that we have here on earth, we barely have time even to begin growing up spiritually. We barely have time to quit squabbling and learn to be nice. In fact, to all eternity, we small, limited human beings will never be more than children in the eyes of a God who is infinite love and infinite wisdom. Even the highest angels have just barely taken their very first baby steps toward their divine Parent, the Lord.

The beauty of those highest, heavenly angels is that they realize they are mere infants in the eyes of God. We sometimes have a chuckle at the way our children, from teenagers right down to toddlers, will act so grown-up--as if they're already way ahead of us. They've got it all figured out! Or at least, they think they do. We know better. We know some of the realities that lie ahead--realities that haven't even enter into their consciousness yet.

Don't you think the Lord feels the same way about us? We walk around thinking of ourselves as mature adults--or at least, trying to pretend we're mature adults. We figure we've got some experience under our belts; and whether or not we truly feel confident inside, we try to project an air of confidence so that others will think we've got it all figured out.

We don't have it all figured out. What we know compared to what we don't know is like a drop of water compared to the ocean. And the sooner we realize that, admit it, and live as if it were true, the better off we'll be. Because as long as we think we've got it all figured out, we're exactly like those little kids who think they're ready to run the show.

As soon as we realize that God is the one who has it all figured out, and we are like children in God's eyes, then we can begin the process of growing up. Then we can become God's children, willing to be led by the Lord every day and every moment, just as our children are willing to be led by us in their better moments. And though we don't always do a perfect job of leading our children, if we look to God as our divine Parent, and do what God tells us, we can have complete faith that God will lead us into the kingdom of heaven. Amen.



Painting entitled "Partners in Crime" is ©Tom Sierak 
and used with his permission by Moon And Back Graphics to construct this set

Music: Pachebel and Me
© 1999 Bruce DeBoer

DHTML Script
Courtesy of

Floating Script Courtesy of: