Jessica Albritton, NextGen Minister LHBC
13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
When I was 9 years old I gave my life to Jesus. I can remember sitting in “big church” and the pastor talking about salvation. He emphasized we were all sinners and needed forgiveness and this Jesus guy was the only one to be able to offer what we needed. When the sermon was over the pastor made his way off the platform and up in front of the pulpit. The choir director asked us to pull out our hymnals and turn to hymn number 307, “Just As I Am,” and sing the 1st, 2nd, and last verse for the invitation. This was it, I was ready. I knew that Jesus died for me and He was calling me in that very moment to come to Him in repentance. I tapped my mom on the shoulder and uttered, “I have to go.” To which my mom responded, “shhh… you can go later.” What? I was so confused and I pressed again, “Mom… I have to GO!” She again shut me down, “You’re being distracting. We are in the middle of the invitation. You can go later.” Now I was even more confused. We went back and forth a few more times and then like a lightbulb it went off… My mom thought I was asking to go to the bathroom. My mom was not trying to hold me back from Jesus, we just had a misunderstanding. She didn’t know what the Lord was doing in my heart, and to her defense, I would often ask to go to the bathroom in the middle of church. Flustered and embarrassed my mom took my arm and moved me around her in our pew and sent me down the aisle to receive Jesus. The church had to go into the last verse again because of the misunderstanding, but I didn’t care. I was asking Jesus into my heart and no one minded waiting. This was important.
In the book of Mark, we read an account where the disciples had a misunderstanding with children as well. Jesus had been teaching and preaching all day and the disciples had been with Him. After a full day of ministry the disciples look up to see parents of kids heading their way. Moms and dads were bringing their children to Jesus looking for Him to bless them. Scripture tells us the disciples began to turn them away. We don’t know why exactly the disciples turned them away, maybe they were tired, exhausted from the day, maybe they thought Jesus was too busy to deal with them, maybe they thought Jesus had more important things to do than spend some time with some little kids. Maybe the disciples didn’t believe the kids understood who Jesus was anyway. Scripture doesn’t reveal the disciples motives or reasoning, but it does reflect Jesus’ response, Jesus stops them. The disciples might not have time for the children, but Jesus did! He took them in His arms and blessed them. Jesus even went on to say that those that don’t receive Him the way children do, in childlike faith, would not enter the kingdom of heaven.
I speak to parents often about their kids and salvation. In KidMin when a child starts to ask questions and explore more of what true faith is all about we begin a dialogue. It always amazes me at the faith a child can have. Some of the kids I have met over the years express more of an understanding of who Jesus is than that of adults I have spoken with. Sometimes we look at kids and see only that, kids. But when Jesus looks at children He sees recipients of the kingdom! Some of the sweetest conversations I have ever had about Jesus have been those with children. Kids that you think aren’t listening, littles that you think just don’t get it, they are listening, and they understand more than we often give them credit for. Jesus knew this and that’s why He made time for them. If you ever get an opportunity to speak with a child about Jesus I can assure you it’ll be one of the sweetest conversations you’ll ever have. Ask questions and let them ask you questions in return. You might even learn a thing or two!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Heavenly Father, thank you for your love for me! Thank you for the gift of salvation that you offer to all of creation, young and old, and thank you for never being too busy for me. Lord, help me to receive you each and every day with childlike faith! In Jesus name, amen!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.