June 28 I Sunday
“And whoever welcomes one such child in My Name welcomes Me.” —Matthew 18:5
When a couple welcomes a child into their life, there are major adjustments. When our first child, Hannah, was born, we took her home from the hospital. We did not give Hannah a house tour explaining, “This the kitchen where you’ll eat. You find food in the fridge and plates, cups and cutlery in the cupboards. Let me take you to your bedroom. This is where you’ll sleep. And of course, the bathroom, there is the tub where you’ll shower and a toilet for you to do your business. Now, just make yourself at home, Hannah.” If we left our newborn baby to her own whims, we would be irresponsible parents. Rather, when we brought Hannah home, we served her.
When we welcome a child, we welcome someone who needs serving. This is probably why in Jesus’s teaching to His disciples on the greatness of the Kingdom, He gave instructions to welcome children in His name because greatness in the kingdom comes from serving people—looking after their needs.
Many years ago when I was studying in Glasgow, I used to go to a church at the centre of the city. I remember talking to somebody who was not a Christian and inviting him to visit this church. He responded, “Naw, I’ve been there and I don’t like that church.” I asked, “Why not?” He said, “There are all kinds of misfits that go to that church.” At first, I was a bit embarrassed and said, “Oh yeah, that’s true.” But as I thought about it, I wondered, what does Jesus think about the fact that misfits feel at home in His church? I believe He would be thrilled with it!
If we want a church that does not welcome people who are a bit odd, different and needy, we would completely miss the Kingdom of God. Jesus does not measure people by their social standings, economical status, skin colour or skills but He simply loves and cares for them just because they exist and because God loves them. He demonstrated this on the night of His betrayal. He took a towel, wrapped it around Himself, knelt at the feet of each of His disciples and washed their feet. He showed them that the Kingdom of God was not about getting onto pedestals but about meeting people’s needs.
The greatest therapy for so many of our own needs that we often whine about is actually forgetting about them and starting to serve. As we consider Jesus’s teaching on welcoming, may we humble ourselves, change our attitude and serve with gladness.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for teaching me what it means to have a welcoming attitude and to serve with gladness. Grow in me a heart to love those who are different from me.