13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother him. 14 But when Jesus saw what was happening, he was very displeased with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 I assure you, anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God.” 16 Then he took the children into his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16 NLT)
When I was a little boy everyone called me Jimmy. That was fine when I was a little boy. But I thought Jimmy was a little kid’s name and when I reached my teens I decided it would be much more age-appropriate to be called Jim. That was also about the time I stopped calling my father “Daddy” and started calling him “Dad.”
My Dad’s sister Edna was the last surviving member of my father’s generation in the Stephens family. We had lost contact with Aunt Edna years ago after Uncle Clarence died, then we moved overseas for nearly two decades, and when we moved back to the USA, we didn’t know where she lived. Letters we sent to the old address we had were returned as undeliverable. Then one day we got a call from my cousin Georgia, Aunt Edna’s youngest daughter. She called us from Texas and told us that Edna had died. I hadn’t seen Georgia or her sisters since my early teens, more than half a century earlier (when I was still Jimmy!).
Georgia kept calling me “Jimmy” on the phone and at first I wanted to tell her that my name, my grownup name, is Jim. But I didn’t make a big deal of it. We talked again several times in the next few days, about Aunt Edna’s later years, about the funeral arrangements, about Georgia’s life and about her older sister Carol, who, we discovered, still lived in Oregon. Actually, it was kind of nice to be Jimmy again.
This morning, after I read the verses above from Mark 10:13-16, I felt as if Father God said to me, “Do you mind if I call you Jimmy?” And my heart replied, “That’d be great! Can I call you Daddy?” He said, “Sure.”
Here are a couple of things that occurred to me as I thought this through:
- The “Jim” I am now has a lot more on his mind than the “Jimmy” I used to be.
- Being in too much of a hurry to graduate from “Jimmy” to “Jim” could cause me to miss the good parts of my life’s “Jimmy” season.
- I’m thinking it would be good to have at least one relationship where I’ll always simply be “Jimmy”!
- In fact, I think that might be the whole point Jesus was making when he said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
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