Stoop Till We Are No Taller Than Children
I realize that I don’t like stooping. It’s not my natural inclination to become less. The competitive spirit in me likes to be first. Too often when I hear the word “surrender” my spirit struggles deep within me. And yet, I hear His small voice whispering, “The first shall be last, and the last first.”
I was brought face to face with this truth recently as we had dear friends visit us. Eight years is a long time to go without a face to face, and we had a joyous reunion this past weekend. Hours on the front porch sharing our stories of England and Vanuatu. I quickly became aware that what I thought were the challenges I experienced living overseas were like specks of sand in an hourglass. My brave friend has tackled it all: from hut living to scabies to hauling water for her family, she is the ultimate example to me of stooping.
With three young girls of her own, she embraced living in a village where rape and promiscuity are rampant, all for the sake of the Gospel. Kingdom-living is what she likes to call it. She laughs as she tells stories of how she has become the village nurse, with no prior medical training, giving advice on everything from terbuculosis to pinworms.
She has stooped, yet she never seemed taller to me than when she was sitting on my front porch.
C.S. Lewis talks about the beauty of children getting into the kingdom in his book Reflections on the Psalms. He says, “For the entrance is low: we must stoop till we are no taller than children in order to get in.”
There is a low clearance to kingdom living. Many who think they are entering are in fact, not. The most righteous among us, have not become low enough. We haven't become like children.
It amazes me how often in the Scriptures, Christ uses the example of a child to portray to us kingdom living.
"Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
"Let the children come to me...for to such belongs the kingdom of God." "Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Could it be that the image we are to take away above all else is that of stooping?
Stoop until we are no taller than children.
The Holy Work of Keeping
On my best day, I am a full 5’ 3”. I tend to shrink away from wearing heels as an acl tear in high school makes wearing them put unwanted pressure on my knee. I am aware that everyone else is taller than me. And, as I sat next to Amber, I felt smaller than ever before. But, it had nothing to do with my height. It had everything to do with kingdom living. I want to feel that small. I want to live daily in the realization that I could be tall, if I would just choose to kneel down.
I am currently reading Christi Purifoy’s book, Roots and Sky, which I highly recommend. This morning I came across her beautiful idea of “the holy work of keeping.” She writes, “Too often I see this work as drudgery. I sweep the floor and then scream in frustration when my son tracks dirty snow into the house...This work is never finished!” There are always more dishes to wash, more laundry to fold, more meals to cook.
“The work of keeping is never finished, and every day there is worship to give.”
The point is not that I need to move to Vanuatu and haul water to my hut. The point is I need to daily take up my cross in my own home, in my own family, with the work He has placed before me. This is my worship. This is the holy work of keeping.
My work of keeping may look different than yours. I may not live in Venuatu, treating villagers of tuberculosis, but I do have a work to do. And in that work, I am called to stoop. Stoop as He “Who being in very nature God, did not consdier equlity with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant.”
And I find that in the work of keeping, there is worship being poured out. I adore Him as I tend to my own garden. I praise Him in the daily task of placing yet another meal upon the table. I surrender as I kneel on the ground next to my children.
The entrance to the kingdom is low. May I stoop a little lower...