“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:42
When I was a child, I enjoyed games and crafts and simple friendships. Babysitting wasn’t a chore because I could play with younger kids. Even in my teenage years and through college, I vowed with my friends to keep our childlike joy and “never grow up.” Somewhere along the way, was it ten years ago? Was it in medical school or residency? The world started weighing heavier on my shoulders, there was less time for games and imagination. I even stopped enjoying board games (was it because I couldn’t enjoy it if I wasn’t winning?). I still had fun with my good friends, but was our joy childlike? Weren’t we now traveling through life with responsibilities and practical considerations? Maybe I was concerned that spending too much time with children and make-believe would take me off track from my career ambitions. But recently I’ve been enjoying moments of renewed joy. Playing plastic toy animals with my nephew. Playing dolls with my nieces. Tea parties and making things out of clay with our neighbors children. It’s not as natural for me as it used to be. This mind, so fixed on medicine and public health and productivity takes some warming up before I’m ready for play. It is easier for Greg and I to speak to hundreds, even thousands of adults than to present some stories before a few dozen kids in children’s church. It’s not natural anymore. But as Christ-followers we can’t get too far from childhood. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Is it because of their innocence? Their imagination? Their easily learnable hearts? Probably all these things are why we as adults need children around us to remind us how to approach God. Well, now Greg and I have a stack of 40 construction paper cards. They’re written by Pasadena Nazarene kids for their brothers and sisters in Nguangwa. We get to be the curriers, the agents of communication across cultures. Maybe we’ll grow and learn to be more Christlike in the process.