The Kingdom Belongs to Such as These
People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16)
Evidently Jesus didn’t read the same books on time management that most of us read. Time management experts tell us to spend our time with significant people who can help us achieve our goals, and show us how to prioritize and maximize our time. Playing with little children doesn’t seem to fit into such a matrix. And yet, Jesus took time to bend down, take them into His arms and bless them (Mark 10:16).
The disciples certainly wanted to protect their Master. When people started bringing little children for Jesus to bless, they tried to put a quick end to it. Their horizontal response to the parents of the children was, “Don’t bother the Master with little children. He has important things to do.”
As was so often the case, Jesus had a different perspective … a vertical view that valued children. He saw (and sees) children in their innocence and flexibility. A child’s encounter with Jesus could forever change a life. It still does. Children don’t come to Jesus with all the answers and the baggage of a life filled with wrong decisions and sinful behaviors. They are eager for His healing and life-changing hands of blessing.
The vertical life, lived with Jesus, will place great value on children and those who are willing to humble themselves and come to Him as children do. Rather than exclusively choosing to spend time with the wealthy, powerful, and wise, we need to seek out those who are at the beginning stages of life and are open and available for the work of God. The Body of Christ is intergenerational, and we are all equal partners in the kingdom. What children are you blessing today?
Listen: Spend a few quiet moments seeking God. Be attentive to whatever He may speak to your heart.
Reflect: How is the Spirit leading you to respond to what you have heard from God?
Confess and Repent: If there is something the Spirit convicts you of, take time to prayerfully confess it. Resolve to turn from it if it is sin, or step toward whatever He is leading you into that you have either neglected or not seen before.
Ask: Thank You Jesus, for loving and blessing little children. What a powerful model You are for us! Help me to be childlike in my faith and love for You. Show me how I can minister to little children in ways that are godly and pleasing to You. May I be one who leads children into the kingdom and teaches them to obey Your commands. Help me humble myself to change my expectations about their ability to serve and minister for Your glory.
- Consider how your church treats children and youth. Are they being trained or entertained? How does the budget reflect the importance of training them up for the cause of Christ? How could you take the lead in sharing Jesus’ perspective on children, and challenging the leadership to focus more intentionally upon raising the bar for them to become world changers?
- What children are in your sphere of influence? How can you impact their lives in such a way that their faith is strengthened? Consider becoming a mentor to at least one young person.
- Follow the example of Jesus and bless children in your life. Try using Numbers 6:24-26: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Taken from Vertical with Jesus by David and Kim Butts. © 2022 PrayerShop Publishing.