What Jesus Loved

Those were troublous days, days of unrest, of unhappiness, of disease, bondage to material beliefs, sin, and woe, days of inequalities, of social and economic instability, of dictatorship and inhumanity. Seeking surcease from their trials, people had come from far and near to touch the hem of the Christly garment and be made whole. There were lepers to be cleansed, sick to be made whole, and blind whose sight needed to be restored.

The zealous disciples, guarding the precious moments of the Master, would have brought to him for healing only those who in their estimation had a claim on him. This was neither time nor place for children, they thought. Let the little ones wait a more convenient season. But rebuking the disciples, Jesus said (Luke 18:16), "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God."

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This incident is thought-provoking, and in it may be found a valuable lesson for humanity vainly searching for health, happiness, and supply in matter. In effect the great Teacher said: The kingdom of God which you seek, is to be found in those qualities of thought natural to little children. It is not the wisdom of years that ushers us into the kingdom, not the display of scholarship, nor exalted position, but rather is it innocence, purity, faith, spontaneity.

In human experience the true nature of God as infinite Love is often expressed by little children in their eagerness to give affection, slowness to show resentment, and readiness to help. They bestow smiles without reserve or partiality and wave at the stranger. In the schoolroom the tears of one are the concern of all, and among very little children the work of the day is likely to be at a standstill until all are happy again. Children are given to activity and like nothing better than to put into practice what they have learned. Practice, rather than preaching, is characteristic of the child. As a lad from a Christian Science Sunday School said of Christ Jesus, "Jesus talked and then did, but he did more than he talked."

Unusually childlike in thought was the beloved Leader of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. One of her references to children in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" reads (p. 236), "Jesus loved little children because of their freedom from wrong and their receptiveness of right." Purity of thought, receptivity, acceptance—these are childlike qualities of thought that are essential to spiritual growth. The child is concerned with the present. He expects good and expects it now. He gives little thought to the possibility of evil unless he has been indoctrinated by adult misconceptions. He has no place in his experience for delayed manifestations of good. The time is now; the place is here; the expectation is good. With the Apostle Paul he would agree (II Cor. 6:2), "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."

The childlike thought is teachable. Those who have worked with children know how joyously they learn new things and how enthusiastic they are over the knowledge gained. Childlike eagerness to learn and enthusiasm in learning are qualities generally found in the beginner in the study of Christian Science as he glimpses the glorious vista of health, wholeness, and spiritual contentment opening before him. If the more advanced student finds the desired goal of harmony apparently receding, may it not be well for him to search his thought to see if he is permitting to wane the precious qualities of enthusiasm and eagerness to learn? The harmony of our experience is in proportion to our understanding of God. Can we then be too earnest, enthusiastic, and consecrated in our effort to know Him better?

One might well ask himself frequently: Am I childlike in my expectation and acceptance of good? Am I enthusiastic and eager in seeking spiritual understanding? Am I joyously anticipating and attending church services and lectures? Am I gratefully accepting duties and responsibilities in connection with the work of the branch church and of The Mother Church? Am I importunately and diligently praying for the world, making sure of the answer to my prayer by willingly practicing good in every detail of my experience? The world needs enthusiastic spiritual workers; it needs the joyous expectancy and acceptance of the child thought; it needs teachable workers who seek divine guidance in the solution of social, economic, and political problems. Even as the child looks to his parent to guide him, so we need to look to our heavenly Father for the wisdom needed to bring peace and equitable adjustments in the affairs of the world.

Exhorting her followers to be childlike, Mrs. Eddy wrote (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 110), "Beloved children, the world has need of you,—and more as children than as men and women: it needs your innocence, unselfishness, faithful affection, uncontaminated lives. You need also to watch, and pray that you preserve these virtues unstained, and lose them not through contact with the world. What grander ambition is there than to maintain in yourselves what Jesus loved, and to know that your example, more than words, makes morals for mankind!"

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