"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


When my daughters were small, one word indicated their attitude toward life. After they got over their infatuation with the words "No!" and "Mine!" they discovered that helping their mother pleased her and made her happy. And as everyone knows, "When Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."
        Since their mother and I always praised them when they showed a little initiative toward "helping" us, regardless how inconvenient it may have been, they came to know that being a "helper" was a very good thing. So, often one of them ran over to us when we began a chore, chanting the word "Helper." Their mother and I then invented some small job that wouldn't set us back too much when they messed it up. But even when they did, we always tried to find something about their work to praise.
        Jesus particularly valued each child's willing spirit, telling his disciples, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Luke 18: 16-18)
        Sure they were in his way, interfering with the "grownup" work of healing, preaching and teaching. Yet, he found time to nurture them with conversation and affection.
        The Bible says Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, so we must infer that he relates to that childlike spirit of helpfulness as he did when, during his earthly life, he called the children to himself despite his disciples' well-intentioned interference. Their desire to buffer the teacher against distractions perfectly illustrates the contrast between child-likeness and the "grown up" attitude of practicality.
        An old religious truism says, "Ten percent of the folks do ninety percent of the work." Sounds a bit conservative, as that ten percent actually does more like one hundred percent of the work. The working ten percent, the ones who step forward like a child and, in effect, say "Helper," are citizens of God's kingdom. So, what about the rest? Jesus' words are specific: "Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

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