Can we pause and picture the scene of Jesus traveling through the countryside, greeting passersby, while talking to his followers about life?
I came close to this when I went to Haiti years ago to speak at a youth retreat that would be held in the mountains by a stream under a designated tree. We rose before sunrise. We loaded the jeep in the dark with supplies needed. We stopped at a small village, parked the jeep, put our belongings on a mule belonging to a missionary and began the two hour trek up the mountainside on narrow paths and through streams.
We were led by a missionary veteran of over 25 years of living as a Haitian in this beautiful country. I saw why she lived here and why the people loved her so much. She loved well.
We followed Lois, our guide and leader, on rocky paths she knew well. This ground was the holy ground of the ministry God invited her to be and do for life. She greeted every person, young and old, for she knew them, loved them, had a holy relationship with the hardworking people who rose early to get to market to eek out a living for the day. Lois, in all ways was Haitian. The people affirmed her. People trusted her and told her she was now Haitian because she lived and loved, respected and learned the culture as she became part of the culture.
As I followed Lois, who knew every place that might trip us, I felt like a follower of Jesus. Everyone greeted Lois with huge smiles. She returned the greeting with concern for what was going on in their lives. She knew their stories.
We cannot begin to count the lives who found and followed Jesus because of her influence. So, that day, I felt a bit like what the disciples must have felt as they followed Jesus who loved on people of all ages, heart and soul. Jesus came to seek and to save lost people. That was evident. But this passionate Christ was also seeking relationships that were pure, wholesome, renewing and restoring. He loved ALL people…especially children. He knew their parents. Jesus knew their stories.
The Little Children and Jesus
13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.
14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
How many churches in our part of the world are still like the disciples with the idea and attitude that we must hide the ministry of children in the basements bowels of the church?
How many church people look sideways with raised eyebrows when a child comes into the service with parents for the first time and makes a sound or comment?
Do we know each other’s stories?
Can we show mercy and grace like Jesus did when the kids of His Kingdom ran to greet Him?
Do we merely go to church for what church can give us as grownups, expecting babysitting services for our children, so they are not heard so we can “get our worship on”? Just wondering.
Most children ministry leaders are passionate to not “hinder the children” but to grow the faith of kids because they ARE part of God’s Kingdom. These tireless, passionate workers who serve the Kingdom by teaching kids to worship, love and live like Jesus are to be appreciated for doing what Jesus did…
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
THEN… “When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.” Kingdom Kids…all part of His ministry to seek the lost and save them. Our kids probably get this quicker than most grownups. Why? Because of their “childlike faith” that Jesus tells us to have.
Yes, I was a former children’s ministry person so I am biased when it comes to this passage. But, stop and think about for yourself. Jesus loves the little children…ALL of the children of the world. Still true.
You sparked a passion in me that has always been there. May we become as children to you, not childish with selfishness, but with pure childlike faith that adores you and loves who you love. Everyone! Young and old and in between. All of us are your children of Your Kingdom.
In Jesus Name, Amen
Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
We are weak, but He is strong
Yes, Jesus love me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
The Bible tells me so.