Mark 10:15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
There would have been plenty about Jesus’ interaction with and invitation to let the little children come to him that would have seemed odd to the disciples. But downright confusing would have been the way Jesus held them up as the illustration of what engagement with the kingdom of God entails. Why would the “kingdom of God belong to such as these,” and why would we need to “receive the kingdom of God like a little child” to enter it?
There is a word, an all-important idea, embedded in verse 15 that we miss far too often when talking about the kingdom of God. Receive. The kingdom of God is God’s rule, God’s reign, God’s life, God’s ways, God’s will sustained by God’s gracious love.
The disciples must have realized, just as we do, that little ones aren’t good at bringing or buying, contributing or creating. But Jesus knew that they are really good at receiving. That’s all they do in the early days of their lives. Receive. Receive. Receive. And that’s the only way we experience the kingdom. Open. Available. Malleable. Permeable. Unpretentious. Humble. Needy. Receptive.
There is no reaching for the check with God to fight over who pays for life in the kingdom. “Wait, I was gonna pay. Are you sure? What’s your Venmo? I’ll pay you back. Okay, you buy this time, but it’s my turn to pay next time.”
This is a season of the year when we are often reminded of the words of Jesus quoted in Acts 20:35. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” We’ll talk about the giving side of grace next week. But foundational to the kingdom is first and always this: Be open. Available. Malleable. Permeable. Unpretentious. Humble. Needy. Receptive. The kingdom of God is impossible for us to achieve, but it is possible to receive. Because all things are possible with God.