If men do not keep on speaking terms with children, they cease to be men, and become merely machines for eating and for earning money. —John Updike
I wonder if we are “maturing” to a place where most of what we do is a never ending cycle of producing and consuming, consuming and producing. Or as Updike put it, machines for eating and for earning money.
Tina Francis spoke of this recently—when she talked about being still and knowing He is God. She said, “It’s when I’m no longer producing or consuming that I am most able to experience God’s love.”
We often think in terms of how the poor need us, or how children need us – for help, instruction, advice, etc.
But truthfully, we need the poor, and we need the child. They instruct us in the way of the Kingdom.
They remind us to play, to listen, to enjoy small and simple things.
They remind us to celebrate, to sing, to imagine.
They remind us to make use of cardboard boxes and sticks and to not be afraid of the dirt.
If we do not keep on speaking terms with the poor, with the child, we lose a crucial part of our humanity… and we become machines for earning and eating.
The church doesn’t need more machines. It needs more humans.
It needs more humans, eyes wide with wonder and amazement.
It needs more humans, hearts bursting with song and joy—or free-flowing tears of sorrow.
It needs more humans, minds alive with imagination.
This is an important challenge for us, to get low and slow enough to listen.
My friend Najay (pictured at the top of this post) is skilled at this. Recently, I overheard a group of parents talking about her. Basically, they were saying how good she is with kids, and how their kids love her. They’re right. I’ve seen this too.
My friend Katie Jones is a natural at doing this. When I shared these thoughts at Sunday’s Rally Point meeting, her husband sent me this picture of her, along with a text message: “My all time favorite picture of Katie. A little blurry, can’t quite see her face, but you can see her heart.”
And I think of my friend Shawn Seeley, who enjoys fishing. I know he likes the peaceful quiet of the lake and I know he wants to catch fish, but he also takes time to share the experience with his daughter and her pink fishing pole (which means no quiet and no fish).
Let’s stay on speaking terms with the poor and with the child.
Let’s be low enough and slow enough to listen.