Matthew 18:1-6, 10-14 - At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in My Name receives Me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. ... See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of My Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish."
Who are these little ones? Are they children? Yes, but I think Jesus means us to look beyond that. Who are these "little ones" who are so dear to God, the ones He protects with terrible judgment on anyone who leads them astray? Who are these lost sheep He refuses to see perish?
I have some guesses. For example, there's somebody at church who annoys me. It's his voice, I think. Something about it gets on my nerves, and I want to get away from him. There was a girl I knew in school who wanted friends desperately, but if you were kind to her, she followed you around forever, even to the bathroom! There was an older man I used to know who was brilliant, but he was just super slow in everything he did. People went out of their way to avoid working with him or even walking behind him.
These are the vulnerable people of any age—the ones who get overlooked—shunned—even harmed by those who have more status or power or abilities. They are the lonely, the missing, the unnoticed. And they are a special concern to God, because they cannot defend themselves. They are dear to Him, because God made them and Jesus lay down His life to redeem them.
If you are one of these little ones (and who isn't, at some point in our lives?), be glad. You are beloved by God, and He is paying attention to you. And if you know someone like this, be happy, because Jesus has given you the opportunity to love Him by loving that person. You have the high honor of serving Jesus Himself.
WE PRAY: Dear Lord, open my eyes to see the little ones around me whom You love so much. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Can you think of a "little one" you know whom you might serve?
2. How? Think of a specific thing you might do.
3. How do you think Jesus reacts to your efforts to show love? (See Matthew 25:31-40.)
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