At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
If I’m asking where I am in the running for heaven’s #1, I reveal my willingness to consign others to a lesser eternity. What a terrible and terribly childish view of heaven to hold. As if any of us is loved less by God.
He called a child, who he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
This isn’t a statement of divine punishment or exclusion. The kingdom of heaven is wherever we fall into the limitless love God offers us. We consign ourselves to a self-constructed and self-chosen hell whenever we try to make heaven a prize to win or a goal to achieve.
Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Mt 18:1-4 NRSV
Heaven is the home where we are always welcome. Like any child, we just have to know enough to go home.
[Eric Clapton, My Father’s Eyes, Pilgrim, Ocean Way and Olympic Studios, February 9,1998. ]
I will try this day to live a simple, sincere, and serene life, repelling promptly every thought of discontent, anxiety, discouragement, impurity, and self-seeking; cultivating cheerfulness, magnanimity, charity, and the habit of holy silence; exercising economy in expenditure, generosity in giving, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service, fidelity to every trust, and a childlike faith in God.