David's Deliberations . . .
10 January 2021
And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." --Matthew 18:2-6
Even in these turbulent times (or better, especially in these turbulent times), we can learn so much about God and how He would have us live from the "little ones." They are humble, innocent, trusting, compassionate. All these characteristics God would have us nurture and develop as we mature--mature and become as the "little ones." "Little ones" or "children" is used often in scripture to refer to those who are poor in spirit or who are humbly searching for or serving Jesus.
What are our duties toward our "little ones"? We're not to despise them (Matthew 18:10), nor to offend them (Luke 17:21). We are to seek them (Matthew 18:12-14), and when we find them we are to receive (or, accept) them (Romans 14:1). We are to warn them (1 John 2:1; 3:7) about false teachers and help them in their weaknesses (Romans 15:1). We're also commanded to honor them (1 Corinthians 12:23) and we're rewarded for caring for them (Matthew 25:36-40).
Why should we do these things? We should help them in their Christian walk, lest we be condemned (Matthew 18:6). To honor the "little ones," is part of God's plan or pattern (1 Corinthians 12:24) for the body, the church. God doesn't want a single one of them to perish (Matthew 18:4), Giving a "little one" a cup of cold water will insure a reward for us (Matthew 10:42) and in providing that cup of water we imitate the angels (Matthew 18:10).
The "little ones" are necessary (1 Corinthians 121:22), they are greater than John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11), they are Christ's brethren (Matthew 25:40), they are forgiven (1 John 2:12).
Their duty is to know God (Hebrews 8:11; 1 John 2:13), to believe (Matthew 18:6), to grow (1 Peter 2:1-2), to abide in Him (Galatians 4:19; 1 John 2:28), to overcome (1 John 4:4), to remember God (Ecclesiastes 12:1), and their kindest duty is to love sincerely (1 John 3:18).
Who are the "little ones," really? They're someone we should know very well. They're you and I--when we humble ourselves before God and grow into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
—David Carl Swanson