Week 7 Sunday

Nobody Special

Today’s scripture selection: Matthew 17-19

Key verses: Matthew 18:3-4

 

     It was just an ordinary day at the shopping mall – at least for me.  I was wandering among the clothes racks in one of the stores when I felt a small, almost imperceptible tug, on my pants leg.  Looking down, I smiled curiously at the source of that tug – a small child, quietly holding on.  The problem was he wasn’t paying any attention to whose pants he had gripped.

     Well, about that time – the child, who had obviously mistaken my leg for that of his Mom or Dad – looked up.  His eyes grew suddenly big – and he let out one of the loudest screams I had ever heard, the kind that can pierce the soul.

     Not to worry.  No one called store security and accused me of child abduction.  It turns out the child’s parent was right there next to me – the mistake was quickly corrected – and soon the little one was happily heading off in another direction, securely attached to the “right” pants leg this time.

     I’ve often thought of that day when I have read of Jesus’ teaching about the “little ones” of the kingdom.  These small creatures who have no power, no status, and who are the very definition of dependency – these are the ones from whom we are to learn.  Why?

     Because kingdom living is all about humility.  It’s all about “not my will but thine.”  Life as followers of the Way means we must first and foremost ask what God desires of us; not what we want to demand from God.

     Now sure – I can hear some parent saying incredulously – “well, that’s not my kid he’s talking about.”  Children can be all about whining and demanding and putting their needs and desires first.

     But they can also be incredibly generous; naturally sympathetic; playful; unabashedly joyful and spiritually thoughtful.  At their best, they are perfect examples of who we should be – seeking to live with God as our loving provider and companion – just for the sheer joy of it.

Kids – sometimes they are nobody special.  The forgotten; the set aside; the “better seen and not heard” among us.  But sometimes, they are the ones to keep our eyes on.  They can teach us all about how to be at perfect peace, day in and day out, just holding on to God.

 

Prayer: Father, when I am surrounded or confronted by the fearful and unknown – help me to have the simple, perfect trust of a child – in you.  AMEN.

 

 

 

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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