Jesus told his disciples something closer to a true simile about the kingdom. He said the greatest in the kingdom is like a child.
A child has a simple faith. He hears, believes and acts. There are no conditions. There are no if’s, and’s or but’s. There are no convoluted explanations why something is true in one place, but not in another.
Jesus specifically mentions humility. I like thinking about humility as being a realistic perspective of who\what I am. It recognizes personal strengths and personal weaknesses. Personal weakness means personal failures. But it also means weakness or inability inherent in humanity.
God’s kingdom does not have geographical boundaries. It penetrates and changes hearts. Human beings from God’s family are given the assignment of being kingdom extenders and change agents. But human beings do not have the power to change hearts. They cannot reach into someone’s heart, rearrange the wires and Voila! The new person is suddenly following Jesus.
People come up with all sorts of plans and strategies to convince the world to follow Jesus: new methods of proclamation, campaigns of literature, meetings or events, and slick demonstrations. Some people believe that if we can get back into the flow of producing healing, people will come to God. Jesus told a story about a man named Lazarus to demonstrate that even if someone is raised from the dead, it does not guarantee people will choose to change their allegiance and follow Jesus.
That is not to say that we should not pray for the sick. That is not to say we should not strategize, learn new ways to present the gospel, or have crusades and call forwards. (Though, the “call forward” was not invented until the 1800’s. Jesus never had a call forward. There were whole revivals without a single call forward.)
Rather, we need to become like a child and move into a dependent position. We should be faithful to do what God has called us to do. (To love, To pray. To give. To make disciples. To worship.) We should be available. We should have a heart to learn, ready for change and new things.