When our children were small, they were eager to go to church to see their family and friends. They would run from the car, into through church doors, looking for those who they knew would love them back, talk and play with them on their level. They also had some grown ups who they looked forward to seeing, too. But there were some church people they shyly avoided. These were the “hushers”. Yes, you read that right, hushers, not ushers.
As parents, we worked hard to keep our three under control by teaching them how to behave in social situations including church. There is a delicate balance to be struck between welcomed enthusiasm without hurting someone else in the process. The hushers were people who thought children needed to be whisk to another part of the building as soon as possible without being seen or heard from until their holy time in church was accomplished. Hushers desire that children not be seen OR heard. Children are a “necessary evil” to build the church with new families in their opinion.
Thankfully, this is NOT the opinion of Jesus, who again, sets the community straight on what part children play in God’s Kingdom thinking and behaving. The disciples are the original church hushers in this passage. Jesus reprimands his guys, telling them to let the children come! They are brought out of the crowd to the lap of Jesus to be blessed by Him! “The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children”, says Jesus who is our King of kings and Lord of lords!
What did Jesus really mean? Are we to be childish, demanding our own way, running through the grownups, selfishly wanting our time with Jesus without anyone else interfering? No, what Jesus meant was the opposite of childish. We are to be childlike in our faith, enthusiasm to be near Him, joy showing on our faces because of the “can’t wait to see Jesus” joy in our hearts, totally trusting in the One who loves us most. Yes, bless the children for they know and trust more purely and resolutely than most adults who are jaded by the world. Children, according to Jesus, are the church of today as well as tomorrow. We, like children, grow in Jesus with faith “like a child”.
So, what are we teaching by our body language and words to the children who enter our church buildings? Value or mere tolerance? According to Jesus the health of our community of believers is measured by the value we place on children who are blessed by Jesus. We must not squelch the joy of children but provide environments of love, acceptance and valued belonging that promote and stir the joy of loving Jesus.
Come, like a child…with holy growing faith, pure trust, full of the love of Jesus who lives in us who believe.
Do we really believe in what we believe about God really real? The answer lies in our behavior.
Matthew—God’s Law Fulfilled
Matthew 19:13-15, NLT
Jesus Blesses the Children
13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” 15 And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.
This is a new day. I give my life to you for evaluation, correction and encouragement to learn and grow in You. This small passage about the smallest and highly valued part of our community is a great lesson in humility, love, truth, faith, trust and grace. It is a lesson in becoming childlike in our joy. Lord, restore the joy of your salvation in all of us. Restore the joy unspeakable and full of your glory in my heart. Lift me up from the rumble of worldview thinking and help me to think higher thoughts, thinking that is more and more like you. Thank you for the pause to reflect on one of my favorite passages of Your Word. Help me to be childlike in faith always while growing away from childish behaviors.
In Jesus Name, Amen