I like to watch people and especially leaders. I have learned a lot over the years by observing how they respond in various situations that are unscripted and spontaneous. I have seen some who were totally engaging on a stage in front of a crowd but off stage were cold, demanding or distant. Anyone can come across as sharp and together when they have total control over their audience or environment but those that inspire me are the ones that show compassion and composure when they are interrupted.
This is what happens to Jesus in our reading this week, “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.” Matthew 19:13-15 (NLT)
I absolutely love this snapshot of Jesus’ life and character. With mounting pressure and opposition, it would be easy to understand if He had let his companions clear out any “distractions”. But instead, Jesus sees these little ones as they truly are – valuable and precious. We see this throughout His life as he shows interest in people who are marginalized by society like lepers, poor, widows, physically handicapped and mentally ill. Jesus sees everyone as created in the image of His father and treats them with appropriate dignity.
My prayer as I write this is that all of us will adopt Jesus mindset and treat people of all ages, stages, backgrounds, economic and social circumstances with genuine love and concern.