Two events happen in this reading. The first is that Jesus calls the children and tells the listeners that they need to receive the kingdom like a child. The second, is that Jesus is approached by ruler. This alone is interesting because this event appears in the three synoptic gospels, but Luke is the only one that says the man is a ruler.
The link I would like to make between the two situations is that entering God’s kingdom is about an attitude. The first attitude is that of a child, but what does this mean? I have met spoilt children, loud children, devious children, loving children, polite children. What type of attitude is Jesus referring to?
This is the point at which we are left to make up our own minds. Each of us can make our decision about what this attitude is. We would all agree that it has to be a positive attitude. This would lead us to look at what we see positive in children. We might say their joy, love, peace, kindness. We may even say innocence. One thing Luke assumes is that we know what Jesus means. We already know what the right attitude is.
The second attitude is to the law. We see that the ruler has lived by the law his whole life, but it seems as though Jesus is not happy with this answer. It is as if he is looking for a failure, so he adds one more thing to show the true heart of the ruler, his true attitude.
One of the things I believe we should look at in the reading is that the ruler felt he had done all that was needed, but ignored that part of the faith that challenged his life.
Each of us looks at what we think is important to being a Christian. Being generous, forgiving, going to church, living a good life. It is not that we are not living out our faith, the question is what is it that we do not do, and would stumble in our attitude. Maybe we do not even realize that we are not living out a certain part.
The ruler was not rebuked, he walked away challenged by Jesus’ request. He was suffering because he wanted something and knew he had fallen short. The good news is that Jesus died so that he could make up the short fall. The ruler had a heart that was sad and hopefully he repented of this failure and accepted God’s forgiveness.
We are not going to have the right attitude, the important point is to see it and talk to God about it. Ask God’s help to change. The change brings a blessing for our lives. God only wants what us to know life fully.