Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bring On the Children! by Linden Malki

One of the most memorable stories about Jesus is His welcoming of children when His disciples wanted to "save" Him from their bother. The Roman and Greek cultures which surrounded them did not value children; however, we see even in the earliest Scriptures an ideal of parental love. We see Jacob's love for Joseph and Benjamin; Moses' parents hiding him and being willing to having him raised by strangers to save his life; Samuel dedicated to the service of God; Joash being hidden by his aunt and uncle from a murderous grandmother. We even see God Himself describing His love for His people as a father loving His children. Although Moses commanded the Israelites to teach their children the story of what God required and had done for His people, we read of too many parents whose children were not raised wisely.

Jesus not only welcomed the company of children, but set a child front and center and said, "Whoever shall receive this child in My name receives me, and whoever receives me receives Him who sent Me, for he that is least among you shall be great." On another occasion He said about children, that "of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."

We often think of the character of a child as innocent, but anyone who has raised a child knows that they are self-willed from the beginning. Fortunately, innocence is not the requirement for salvation. Even small children are also surprisingly capable of cutting to the heart of the Gospel. The majority of adult Christians originally accepted Jesus as children. The evangelist D.L.Moody once described a meeting where there had been "two and a half conversions." The response was "Two adults and a child, I suppose?" "No," said Moody, "two children and an adult. The children gave their whole lives. The adult had only half of his left to give."

We are given the awesome responsibility of nurturing children wisely; of being kind of people that show our relationship with God in ways that encourage others to learn from us as individuals and as families, both in blood and in faith. Jesus also said that anyone who causes a "these little ones" harm is subject to judgment. Again, we are responsible for each other!

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