What My 2 Year Old Son Taught Me About Following Jesus

It happened in the 2 year old room at church. Luke climbed up on a chair and then fell off breaking his collarbone. It shouldn’t have surprised anyone that a kid got hurt because this was back when The Crossing met at Rock Bridge High School and every Sunday an army of volunteers turned high school classrooms into a children’s ministry. No matter how diligent everyone was the rooms weren’t as “age appropriate” as they have been since moving into our own building.

It was probably best that it was my kid that got hurt. I’m not sure how a new family would have reacted but who were Christine and I going to blame? Ourselves? Two year olds aren’t the best communicators so we weren’t exactly sure what was wrong with him. All we knew was that he didn’t want to lay down and if he tried he’d start crying. A trip to the doctor revealed the problem as a fractured collarbone.

While we didn’t expect the doctor to put a cast on a collarbone, we did expect him to put Luke in a sling to immobilize his arm. Instead the doc sent him home with nothing other than instructions for taking tylenol and advil to dull the pain. When we asked why a sling wasn’t the right way to go, the doctor’s explanation ended up being a simple spiritual lesson that has stayed with me.

If an adult broke their collarbone, a sling would be needed to keep them from using it and allow it to heal. But that’s not necessary with a young child. Unlike an adult, a 2 year old is smart enough to not use their arm and ask for help. A young child knows what he or she can’t do and is okay with that. A young child doesn’t have a problem admitting weakness and asking for help. A  young child doesn’t mind being dependent on others. Adults? Me? Not so much.

That our cultural values are often, if not always, at odds with biblical values can be seen in Jesus’ statements that “The last shall be first and the first shall be last,” or “Anyone who wants to be great must be the servant of all.” Add to the list that the culture values independence while God encourages dependence. We get excited when kids are independent enough to get dressed or use the restroom themselves. We celebrate the independence that comes when a kid turns 16 and he or she is able to drive. We play the lottery or check the stock market with the hope of financial independence.

But God tells us that we should be dependent like children (Matthew 18:1-5). One reason that he sends trials our way is to teach us to depend on him and not on ourselves (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). And he tells us that “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Let’s think about that last verse for a moment and try to make it more specific to our lives. If you and I can do nothing apart Jesus, that means that we can’t parent, be married, do our jobs, make decisions, or anything else apart from Jesus. What’s that mean? Obviously we can do all those things on our own. We are independent people after all.

I think that it means that a part from Jesus we can’t do anything that pleases Jesus.

In John 5:19, 30 Jesus twice says that he can do nothing on his own. If Jesus can do nothing on his own but is always dependent on his Father, then how much more us?

Luke figured out ways to get in his bed without putting pressure on the broken bone but he never could figure out a way to get in his high chair without using his hurt arm so he asked us for help. And then one day he didn’t need help and stopped asking for it. The bone was healed.

The day that we don’t need help never comes for us. We should never stop asking God for wisdom or our daily bread (or anything else). Growing as a Christian is almost the opposite of growing up in our world. The strong Christian is the one who knows and embraces their weakness depending on Jesus for more and more.

One Comment

  1. Lara said:

    Thank you Keith for this beautiful message! I read this as I rock my own 2 year old son. As always you have a powerful message that my husband and I embrace whole heartedly!

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