Mark 10:14-16, “When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth; anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them”
We were the only family with children in the crowded restaurant. I sat David in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, David squealed with glee and said, ‘Hi’ as he pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with happiness. I looked around and saw the source of his happiness. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists. ‘Hi there, baby, hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster,’ the man said to David. My husband and I exchanged looks, ‘What do we do?’ David continued to laugh and answer, ‘Hi.’ Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby. Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, ‘Do ya patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek-a-boo.’ Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk. My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for David, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments.
We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between the door and me. ‘Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or David,’ I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, David leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby’s ‘pick-me-up’ position. Before I could stop him, David had propelled himself from my arms to the man. Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship. David in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man’s ragged shoulder. The man’s eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby’s bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time. I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled David in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine.
He said in a firm commanding voice, ‘You take care of this baby.’ Somehow, I managed, ‘I will’. He pried David from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, ‘God bless you, ma’am, you’ve given me my Christmas gift.’ I said nothing more than a muttered thanks. With David in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding David so tightly, and why I was saying, ‘My God, my God, forgive me.’ I had just witnessed Christ’s love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment, a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not. I felt it was God asking, ‘Are you willing to share your son for a moment?’ when He shared His for all eternity. The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, ‘To enter the Kingdom of God, we must become as little children.’
Sometimes it takes a child to remind us of what is really important. We must always remember who we are, where we came from and, most importantly, how we feel about others. The clothes on your back or the car that you drive or the house that you live in does not define you at all; it is how you treat your fellow man that identifies who you really are. 1 Peter 2:17 tell us to honor all people. We do that by recognizing that each human life is a creation of God, a person whom He highly values (Genesis 1:27; 9:6). To despise others offends not only the person but also the Lord. So, my brethren as we go through this day and the days to follow, let’s reflect God’s love by showing honor to all we meet.
People with a heart for God have a heart for people.