Then little children were brought to him, that he should lay his hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Allow the little children, and don’t forbid them to come to me; for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to ones like these.” Matthew 19:13-14 (WEB)
Are children a priority in your church/fellowship? Are children a priority in your life? Let me first make it clear, that I know that I am not called to work primarily in children’s ministry. I will not do well if I am put in a room with 5 or more children (under the age of 10) and told to teach. When I did work with children’s musicals for a few years, I taught the music and left the organization and crowd control to those who were good at it! That said, I am also convicted that children should be the #1 priority group in our fellowships.
I suspect that Jesus had a stern look on His face when He rebuked His disciples for ‘shushing’ the children. The disciples (and most adults in that society) thought children should be seen and not heard. Sound familiar? Jesus was not of the same opinion. He thought that we should all learn from children and pattern our own faith like theirs.
Little children love without conditions. A child does not hold back their hugs or kisses. Daddy comes home from work and a toddler will rush to him with arms outstretched, laughing as he/she is tossed up in the air. Mom picks up a child from the care center, tired after a long day and figuring out in her mind what she is going to do about dinner. Her child rushes for a ‘knee hug’ as Mom appears in the doorway. The world goes from spinning out of control to pausing for that moment which brings a deep breath to the day.
Little children are unfiltered with their joy and their sadness. Children live in the moment. When something happy is happening (like a birthday) they do not think about that they are also battling cancer. (I am speaking from personal experience.) “If it ain’t happening now, it ain’t happening!” When their pet dies or Mommy and Daddy decide not to live together any more, their world is crushed. We adults sometimes bring our uncomfortable feelings to bear on a child and do not allow them to express their sadness with tears and even anger. It is what we are ourselves may be feeling and yet we tell children that “big boys don’t cry” or “don’t let people see you cry (translation: see you weak)”. It’s always interesting to me that when I write down what I am thinking in my head, I see the truth (how ridiculous!) of what I am hearing.
Little children trust without question. Children believe all things are possible. They don’t question how chubby Santa will get down their chimney (or back up!) or how the Tooth Fairy exchanges their tooth for money! Dad or Mom say it – it must be so! My big brother or sister do it – it must be OK. Until some adult breaks that trust, they trust completely.
We, as a Church, have a responsibility, no, a mandate, to put the children (whether they be 4-years-old or a baby Christian of 55-years-old) as the #1 priority of our fellowship. Everything we do including how we do worship, how we steward our money and resources, and how we, the mature and leaders, conduct ourselves, should be about raising up these precious children we have been given.
I wept and banged my fist on the table when I heard a recent story about children in a church. The children were putting on a play. They faithfully practiced hours to learn their lines and songs. Time for the final rehearsals and the adults who were responsible for sound and lighting in the church couldn’t be bothered to come because they did not want to give up their day off. I wonder how that excuse would have played out if they knew they had to give it to Jesus!
The best part of the worship service that I attend is the “Children’s Sermon”. Sorry, pastor, but many times I walk out of there remembering and thinking about the lesson in that sermon!
“Let the little children come to Me..” Check the road. Are there obstacles in the path of these children? Let us make a highway for our God to meet His children and bless them.