Children of the Kingdom
August 10, 2021
Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." And He laid His hands on them and departed from there (Matthew 19:13-15).
Years ago, while I was in college, there was an emphasis in Evangelical Churches to engage in child evangelism. The belief was that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was meant for children and not just for adults. Books were written by Christian theologians and educators outlining ‘a theology for children’. Church programs were developed that emphasized teaching the Gospel to children. Some sociologists and psychologists criticized the church for ‘manipulating’ children with the Gospel, for stifling the creative development of children with ‘biblical nonsense and fairytales’. Some churches bowed under the pressure of a ‘progressive society’ and returned to an emphasis on ministry to adults. We are now reaping the whirlwind of abandoning our children to the humanistic philosophy of the culture when we could be reaping a generation that was once children brought to faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven. The parallel passages in Mark 10:13-16 and Luke 18:15-17 indicate that adults (most likely parents and grandparents) continued to bring the children to Jesus over an extended period of time. It was no secret that Jesus loved children and ministered to them (Matthew 9:18-26; 17:14-18; John 4:46-50). The word Jesus used to describe these little ones referred to young children, even babies. Parents knew then how important it was to introduce their children to the Messiah of Israel. They understood in their mind and heart that exposure to the Son of God was their only salvation from a world gone mad under pagan, Roman rule.
Today, the prevailing attitude among most parents is “I’ll let my child decide for him/herself what religion they will choose - if any at all.” It reminds me of the half acre garden we had in Arkansas when I was a boy. Our family and the Fuller family spent a lot of time cultivating that half acre, watering it, weeding it, protecting it from vermin that would destroy it. What if we had let that half acre of ground ‘decide for itself’ what it would grow? What if we had backed off and not attended to all that was necessary to raise corn, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, okra, squash, melons, green beans, etc.? It’s amazing how much time and energy and money we will spend on the education and entertainment of our children, but we ignore their eternity.
Paul the Apostle wrote, . . . fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Part of that training and admonition of our children is bringing them to Jesus that He might bless them.
“Lord Jesus, forgive us for ignoring our responsibility as parents for letting a godless and sinful world raise our children. Forgive us for not taking the pains necessary to raise our little ones in the ways of Christ. Give us a renewed commitment to bring our children to You, for their sake and for the sake of Your Kingdom, Amen.”