Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

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December 16, 2021: Salt on a Bird’s Tail

“And [Jesus] said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3, KJV).

When I was a boy, my grandfather used to say, “If you can put salt on a bird’s tail, you can catch the bird.” He would then hand us the saltshaker, and off we children went for hours of fun that brought joy and laughter to the adults watching from the porch. Needless to say, we wasted lots of salt and could never get close enough to those illusive birds.

When I was married and had children of my own, I told my wife about the grand adventure I had as a child. Like any good parent, we had to try this experiment with our own children. And like my own elders, we spent hours watching our children enjoy childhood in its purest form.

As time went by, the salt and the birds were forgotten in our minds, but not our kid’s. One morning, we awoke with a sense of alarm. The kids were running through the house with excitement. It did not take long to figure out the cause of their joy. “Get the salt!” we heard our daughter exclaim. A bird had flown through an open window, and they wanted to catch it.

In that moment, we fully understood why Jesus said it takes the faith of a child to get to heaven. A child trusts and believes until the sin of the world—through experiences and hurt—destroys that trust. Only Jesus can restore our childlike faith and hope.

Heavenly Father, teach us to put our faith and trust in You. Amen.

Chris Trent is the pastor of the Grace Outreach and Grace Community churches in West Virginia.