The Greatest In The Kingdom of Heaven

Last weekend, while visiting my brother-in-law and his sweet family, we decided to have an afternoon swim in their neighborhood pool. The kids were slopped with sunscreen, googles on, and could not get in the pool fast enough. They were jumping in and swimming around within minutes of us arriving. I, however, took my time getting ready. I tested the water with my hand, and decided to walk slowly in. Once the water covered my ankles, I said, “yikes! This is cold water.” Meanwhile the kids were splashing around and having a great time. It took me several minutes to arrive waist deep, standing on my tippy toes, as if that would ease the cold. After thinking it through I decided I had enough, and got out of the pool to sit on its ledge. 

In the book of Matthew, Jesus’ disciples asked Him an important question, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Matthew 18:1). Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4). Children are God’s great example of what He addresses as Kingdom followers. God gives us beautiful reminders in children of what a great child-like faith looks like. That day in the pool, the kids decided to go “all in” not overthinking temperatures and how they feel, but knowing the joy and the fun the pool would bring and not doubting in that goodness. 

I was a perfect example that day of what adulting faith can look like. I made the choice to swim, but only decided to go waist deep, which I find is the most uncomfortable place in the water. Half of your body is acclimating to the new temperature while the other half finds itself offended when others splash it. We get frustrated, we tell people to stop splashing, and find ourselves saying, “I’m out.” We can also be like the ones who make the decision to go in the pool but can control so much more when only our ankles are wet. We don’t have to worry about the cold, we don’t have to worry about getting our swimming suits on, what is the point! We are safe in the shallow end, and we can control our environment.  

Whether you are sitting on the ledge, ankle, knee, or waist deep, swimming pools were never intended to just get our legs wet. They offer the freedom of swimming completely submersed, diving deep into its cool waters. In the same way, our commitment to Christ, is not suppose to be a half in decision. When God said to be like children, I believe that He was reminding us to lay down our own way, and trust His way, going for the cannon ball into His presence. He wants us to fully surrender and choose to be all in for Christ. God reminds us many times in the Bible to humble ourselves, yet we love to control our temperatures and environments, thinking our plan is better. This is where we miss the yielding, and find ourselves offended at everyone and everything, feeling voids and frustrations. 

Be like the kids in the pool this week. If you have been wading only waist deep for years, maybe today is the day to plug your nose and go all the way under. Trust God, for this is the place He intended you to be all along. Like a kid in the summer sun, run and jump in! Be excited about the wonder of God and all that we do not understand. It’s under the water where He will show you keys to unlock some of the mysteries that we so want to know. Take the dive, trust His process, and humbly accept His invitation to be all in with Him. 

 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Matthew 18:1-4”

Something To Think About

  1. What is in “all in” moment for you this week? Has there been something keeping you from going deeper with the Lord?
  2. What does a fully surrendered posture to God look like, and how can you walk in this posture on a daily basis?
  3. Think of how your kids, or the children around you have been a great example of a humble, child-like faith?

Published by Emily Rodewald

Emily is a writer and worship leader. She has written several worship songs, she is a co-author or two children's books and has begun writing about the light of Jesus in her blog at She is a co-founder of Parallel Ministries and a mom of two boys, George and Oliver. She has been married for 13 years to the man of her dreams, Daniel. She and her family live in beautiful Montana where they enjoy taking the boys fishing, going on adventures, and renovating their new home.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: