“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14 (NIV)
Children have a lot to teach us about kingdom ways and the joys of being a child of the Heavenly Father. I am relearning some of these valuable lessons simply by being on vacation with two of my little grandchildren. My wife Susan and I are on a Caribbean getaway sharing a condo near a beach with our oldest daughter and her family. Sophie (6) and Greta (3) like all children have boundless energy and active imaginations. What has been fascinating to me is their tireless delight in creativity and play.
It is no exaggeration to say that every waking minute is taken up with some industrious engagement either in creating something or game playing. Their creativity is channeled through many different activities including drawing, coloring, writing, singing, dancing and acting out imaginary scenarios, all of which others are invited to enjoy, critique, applaud and/or participate.
They have an amazing capacity to churn out works of art with great rapidity, ushering from a free flow of ideas that are uninhibited by over thinking and self-critical judgments. One typical day Sophie drew and colored several beach scenes, wrote a story entitled “The Three Ants” akin to the three bears tale and joined Greta in opening an art gallery and spa to which all of us were invited. We also played tag in the pool between numerous games of Uno, Skip-Bo, and Mexican Dominoes. In the evening Greta invited us to her rooftop restaurant, orchestrated a show in which she performed and then assigned each adult an instrument to play as she conducted.
There is something to be said for the renewing and energizing power of playful, creative pursuits in life. My joy in watching and participating in my grandchildren’s creativity reminds me of how God must feel when He sees us as His children utilizing the creative gifts He has given us. I am convinced that an integral aspect of ruling and reigning with Christ Jesus is conceiving, designing and/or generating new things for God’s glory.
We get a glimpse of God’s delight in man’s creative endeavors as we see Him in the very beginning giving Adam the assignment of naming all the wild animals and birds. “He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.” (Genesis 2:19 NIV) In the kingdom realm God invites us into the joy of co-creating with Him. Such creativity requires in measure a childlike faith, uninhibited by self-consciousness and fear of failure. The creative activities of my grandchildren are challenging me to be more attentive to the things the Lord is bringing my way to name. I am more keenly aware that opportunities abound to co-create with Him.
What we name things releases both creative force and resultant consequences. As with Adam, God honors the names we assign. That makes it all the more imperative that we are cognizant to name everything that comes our way as something good and a blessing. Job reiterated this creative power for good or for evil when he said “You will also decree a thing, and it will be established for you.” (Job 22:28 NAS)
These days I am choosing to be more like my grandchildren and fill my life with playful creativity to the joy of my heavenly Father. The kingdom of heaven truly does belong to such as these!
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