Children of God

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Christ says we must be like a child, but children are so different; what kind of personality reflects his intentions? Three boys, three children, three distinct personalities. One boy is filled with drive and ambition. His precise, logical thinking leads him to a well-organized life that eventually will see his success in a materially oriented world. Happiness is another matter, but he is sure if he can just get to that next level in his career, happiness will find him. He reminds me of the apostles arguing who is the most important. His intentions are good, but power is a priority for him.

The second boy is the opposite. He is content to play video games all day, and his concept of success and happiness has little to do with position or material gain. He approaches life with a disproportionate naiveté in the people around him – people who have their hearts in the world of “gimmie,” people dedicated to looking out for number one. Needless to say he is often taken advantage of, bullied, and left hurting.

The third child is somewhere between the two. He has ambition and drive, but his priorities are not centered around a material success. He prays often and tries to pattern his life in a manner that pleases God. He finds happiness in what God has given him.

When I was a little girl, my parents probably prayed that one day I would have more ambition. Ambition is, after all, the drive that makes us work to “get ahead,” to succeed in a material world. I’m afraid I disappointed them. I never felt particularly called to join the rat race. Instead of seeing myself through my parents’ eyes as a failure, perhaps I need to look again at my definition of success and happiness. Maybe I need a different role model – a different measuring stick of success. Instead of trying to be “brilliant” like the first child, maybe I should be more like be more like the second child. Maybe he has it right: success and happiness really don’t have anything to do with material success. But then there is the third child. I have to believe that this is where Jesus is trying to guide his apostles when he sets the child before them. Jesus is asking his followers to pattern their lives in a God centered manner.

Every child is different – a unique individual, a child of God. It is not for me to say how each might or might not fit into His plan. I also am a child of God, a unique individual. Instead of trying to shoehorn myself into a modern culture that I don’t even admire, it might be wiser to set aside my passions and objectives and listen for what God has planned for me. I suspect it will be only then that I will find true success and happiness.

Linda Crowley