A boy was watching his father, a pastor, write a sermon.
“How do you know what to say?” he asked.
“Why, God tells me,” the father answered.
The boy replied, “Oh, then why do you keep crossing things out?”
Malachi 4:6 ( KJV )
And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, Matthew 19:13-15 ( KJV ) 13Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. 14But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 15And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
Mark 9:36-37 ( KJV ) 36And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, 37Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
As we look at our three texts, one theme that I believe we should take from them is the fact that children and our treatment of them is important to the Lord. We see that Jesus was at home with children. I believe that we can also see that children loved Jesus.
We need to be a catalyst for the community at large for the support and restoration of families. We need to lead families to Jesus and give them a place to belong. We need to the kind of church that is relevant to moms and dads and children. We need to foster an environment of joy and peace for kids and adults together. We cannot just be a church of adults. We need both.
- I remember talking with a Junior High kid maybe 20 years ago… I was giving him saxophone lessons. I asked him what he thought about church. His response wasn’t what I had expected. At the time we had a playground at our church. Anytime he or the other Junior High kids went to swing on the swings or generally be around the playground they were chased away be “well meaning” adults. This child felt like he did not belong. Now, listen, that does not mean that he was right. This was, however, telling of the perception that he had…
- Being a family friendly church doesn’t mean that should be the church of “everything goes”. It does mean that we discipline with love and compassion. We just need to be sure that what doesn’t “go” is reasonable and not stifling.
- From our texts today we can also see the regard that Jesus has toward little children. HE loves them. This hasn’t changed. My disabled daughter Kierstin once asked me the question; do you think that Jesus will play with me in heaven? I believe he will.
- Finally we see that when we receive just one of these little children, in Jesus name, we receive him.
To this end I would like to lay out what I believe the Lord is reminding us as churches and pastors.
We need…NEED to take our cue from Jesus. We need to love the children in our churches in deed not just in word. We cannot leave it up to another person to love them for us. We are the emissary of God to our churches.
Loving children practically speaking will manifest itself in several ways in each church, and it may be different for all of us. Playgrounds, clubs and schools are wonderful ministries to children, these things show them and our Savior that we care. However… Pastor, you and I need to be careful to show our love to our churches children. We need to give them attention, we need them to see that they are not, NOT a bother to us. They must see Jesus in us. Do they?