At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." - Matthew 18:1-5
Tuesday afternoons we watch my nephew. Like a lot of kids, he picks over whatever's for dinner.
But bring out a pack of graham crackers or some pizza and it's game over.
On a recent Tuesday, my sister chided him, "You don't have to eat them out of house and home every week!" To our surprise, he shot back, "Why does it matter? They're rich!"
Now, we are a one-minister's-income household in Chicago. We have more than many. But our daughter also qualifies for Medicaid, so…
My sister asked him where he got that idea, and his reply shocked us. "They're always throwing parties!"
The parties he was referring to were church potlucks held at our parsonage, the kind of upscale events that most recently featured pigs-in-a-blanket and apple bobbing. We cram 20 people in a couple good-size rooms and make them eat with paper plates on their laps. And they have to bring the beer.
But in my nephew's mind these gatherings of friends and neighbors sharing food, and drink, and laughter made us inordinately wealthy.
And seeing our life through his eyes, I had to agree.
Give me the eyes of a child to see the richness of my life. And keep the party going.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.