The Upper Room Devotion for Thursday, May 4, 2023, was written by John Alter of Florida.
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2 He called a child, whom he put among them, 3 and said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
Matthew 18:1-5 NRSV
I have never forgotten an experience from first grade. It happened on a Monday. Just the day before I had attended junior church, a special class for children a bit too young to get the most from the adult worship service. Our teacher talked to us the day about how we will always have a friend in Jesus. He is with us hand-in-hand every day, she told us. On that memorable Monday, as I walked to school, I recalled my Sunday school teacher’s message. Suddenly, I raised my right hand and imagined grasping Jesus’ hand. Even now, decades later, I still have a vivid and comforting recollection of that experience.
As we mature, we often lose that simple relationship with Jesus. But Jesus made it clear that we need to “change and become like children” (Matthew 18:3 NRSV), thinking and living humbly. I believe that means we must maintain a simply unspoiled relationship with Jesus Christ. As we maintain that link with Christ in our prayers and thoughts, we may find ourselves reaching to grasp Jesus’ hand that is always reaching out to us.
I invite you to re-read John’s reflection, asking yourself: “What will God allow me to see/experience today that will inspire awe?”
Dear Jesus Christ, help us to maintain a childlike awe in our relationship with you. May we always sense your presence with us, guiding us through each day. Amen.
- John Alter