Receive Like A Child...

In Luke 18, a rich young man comes to Jesus, asking what he must do to inherit eternal life.  He wants to be in the spotlight.  It is no coincidence that Luke juxtaposes the passage of Jesus and the children immediately preceding the verses on the young aristocrat.  Children contrast with the rich man simply because there is no questions of their having yet been able to merit anything.  Jesus’ point is, there is nothing that any of us can do to inherit the kingdom.  We must simply receive it like little children.  And little children haven’t done anything.  The New Testament world was not sentimental about children and had no illusion about any pretended innate goodness in them.  Jesus is not suggesting that heaven is a huge playground for infants.  Children are our model because they have no claim on heaven.  If they are close to God, it is because they are incompetent not because they are innocent.  If they receive anything, it can only be as gift.
                   Brennan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel)