I find it interesting that a man after God’s own heart, and a king no less, wrote Psalm 131. In describing himself as a content little baby at his mother’s breast, David gives us valuable insight on how we too, can find beautiful simplicity in the midst of our many responsibilities.
Though he carried the mantle of a king, he remained little in his heart. Even with enemies surrounding him on all sides, his ability to stay small was the secret to how he was able to cope under such pressure. Psalm 116:6 says… The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me. (NLT)
I believe that it was David’s childlike posture towards God that actually qualified him to become king of all Israel. We see this attribute of ‘being small’ for a fleeting moment in his predecessor, King Saul when the prophet Samuel reminded Saul why God chose him as Israel’s first king in 1 Samuel 15:17… Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. (NIV)
It seems in God’s Kingdom, the way to be big in His eyes is to stay small in our own. Even though Saul was physically a head taller than anyone else in Israel, he carried a beautiful humility in his heart. Alas, this posture didn’t last long once he became king and his arrogance and independence were part of his undoing.
I will never forget one of the words of encouragement that my friend, Jack Winter gave at the last Father’s Love Forum that he was able to attend. In referring to this 1 Samuel 15:17 reference about Saul, Jack told us to ‘Stay small in your own eyes’. Those words of Jack’s have stayed with me ever since.
When I feel like I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, the only thing that really gives me relief is to remember that I am just a little boy with a really BIG Dad! Jack used to say that we could choose to be big in our own abilities and have small input from God, or we could choose to be little boys/girls and have our Father’s influence be absolutely HUGE!
If I am honest, there are times when I forget this valuable truth and I try to start overreaching again. I may go days or even weeks, trying to live up to other people’s lofty expectations of me or worse yet, I try to live up to my own broken, adult-generated driven expectations. It is only when I return to the simplicity of a child, that I return to a place of true rest and contentment.
I find it interesting that David also wrote that he did not try and understand things that were beyond his pay grade (my paraphrase) but chose to still and quiet his soul like a little child. In his commentary on Psalm 131, Charles Spurgeon wrote… ‘High things may suit others who are of greater stature, and yet they may be quite unfit for us.’ ‘A man does well to know his own size.’
I think one of the tensions of staying small is the notion that we are also supposed to dream big dreams. Ephesians 3:20 says… Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. In Matthew 17:20, Jesus tells us that ‘nothing will be impossible for us’ and in John 14:12, He says that we will do even greater works than He did!
So how do we live a life where anything is possible and we are free to dream impossible dreams, yet live in a place of contentment? I believe the secret to the greater works of Jesus can only be found in the place where we ourselves are little. After all, it is little kids who dream of rocket ships and far away lands… not adults. Now when I say that we need to ‘stay small’, I am not referring to a childish immaturity or a religious false humility.
I am talking about staying in the beautiful place of humility where we find ourselves empty of our own self effort. I believe that it is only when we are truly aware of our own emptiness that we will truly appreciate just how much our Father enjoys filling clay plots with His glory (2 Corinthians 4:7).
From my own experience, when I try to be strong, my own strength just gets in the way. The Apostle Paul wrote about the secret of true strength in 2 Corinthians 12:9 when he quoted Jesus Himself who said to him… “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (NIV). If we are strong when we are weak, then who would be considered the strongest amongst us?
Little kids of course! Little kids are the weakest people on earth …but it is their weakness and dependence that attracts all the strength that parental love can offer. That is why Jesus told His disciples that the greatest in the Kingdom are those with a childlike heart (Matthew 18:1-5).
I truly believe that there really is a place of absolute love and complete acceptance reserved just for little kids in Abba’s secret place. I believe that Jesus lives there (John 1:18) and we can live there too! I also believe that the unlimited potential that each one of us carries will only be fully unlocked when we realize that we are just little kids with nothing to prove. The smaller that we can be, the bigger our Father can become on our behalf. …And our Dad is the biggest, best Dad in the universe!
My prayer is that we would all stop trying to be big so that we could truly discover the little boy or little girl inside of us that is just waiting to be unleashed! Maybe like David, we will experience true contentment as we find our unique resting place on the breast of God Himself.
GOD, I’m not trying to rule the roost, I don’t want to be king of the mountain. I haven’t meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans. I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content. Wait, Israel, for GOD. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always! (MSG)