There’s a new MasterCard commercial on TV – the kind that ends by naming something “priceless” – something that – ironically – can’t be bought with a credit card or money but is an experience. This one has several children, all appearing to be under 6 years of age, talking about vacation and how many millions of vacation days are lost each year because adults can’t find the time to take the time due to them off from work. They stress how ridiculous this is, since not only is vacation good (for whole families even) but it’s time for which the worker is paid! I find it the least offensive and the wisest advice of any commercial in recent memory. The message is important, of course, but it is the fact that it comes “out of the mouths of babes” that creates the impact.
When Jesus is asked this morning, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” he calls a child over, places her/him in their midst and says, “Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” (MT 18:1-5) Everyone is quick to warn that Jesus does not call us to be childish but rather child-like. I’m interested this morning, however, in the word turn in the instruction of how we will prepare to come into the Kingdom. In this culture we definitely need conversion – a turning from something to something else – which implies letting go of that which impedes us from seeing what is important.
Today, I think I’ll try to spend some time reflecting on the ways in which children are simpler, wiser and less encumbered than I am. Evaluating what mental constructs I would be able to shed in the quest to be “childlike” might offer me the possibility for a few more “priceless” moments in my day.