I have been thinking a lot about children and God's perspective on these bite-size contributors to society. As a mom of young children, I am around kids a lot.
I am around my own children nearly continuously (I'm so blessed!!!) but even while I am out in public, I am a chief observer of children and their interactions with the world.
Recently, we went to the library and rented a CD by a popular children's music artist from the 80's. I was really feeling this guy so I began googling him to see if he was the real deal! (You know you do this too!!!) As I did a little digging, the practicality of his advocacy for children really impressed me. Though he was one of the biggest child entertainers of his day (probably #1) he refused all commercial endorsement offers including a children's movie proposal. Why? Because he believed in honoring children and not commercially exploiting them, aka. trying to make a profit off their impressionable minds and passionate desires. His face was never on a cereal box nor was it on hyped up commercials selling junk to kids.
MAYN. Some people just get it. Jesus DEFINITELY did. He honored children as the weaker members of society and he blessed them,
"One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them." Mark 10:13-16
"Mom, I want to read the one where Jesus' blesses the children" - Rowin for one week straight when it came to reading his Bible before bed. It makes me cry thinking how precious these little ones are to Jesus. Children are a society's most vulnerable members and yet they hold such RICH potential! They're like tiny seeds, seemingly insignificant, who given a healthy, nurturing environment, hold within themselves the potential of incredible beauty and tremendous fruit, even the ability to feed the nations!
Many a wise man has voiced a similar observation of culture, "the measure of a society is found in how they treat their weakest and most helpless citizens". As "green" as our nation boasts and strives to be, ours is a culture laced with poison in every bite. I'm talking about Abortion and the evil of killing babies in their mothers wombs, but I guess I'm also thinking about other less-evident Evils too. General disregard and apathy toward children.
A propensity toward fostering self-absorption instead of compassion in little hearts.
The selfishness of a culture of people who are more passionate about recycling books than they are about humans made in the image of God.
The exploitation of these little ones for financial gain (aka."what cheap junk can we candy-coat and pitch to these little egomaniacs").
If you were short-sighted and merely thinking in monetary terms, its humorous how little value children have! They come into the world with NOTHING. In fact, they live in a constant state of need until a mother satisfies their most primitive demands! And yet God puts such a HIGH value on them - the stakes are HIGH when it comes to loving and caring for children,
"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.'"
Thats heavy... literally.
Little kids are drawn to Love. You've probably seen it. My husband is one of those people whom children are ALWAYS drawn to! The deep voice... nope! Scared by his intimidating eyebrows... not a chance! Deterred by his dark beard... not in the least! Somehow kids are always able to see through all that MAN and feel the Love. I imagine it was like this with Jesus! Think of it! The fancy-pants teacher of the day, overflowing with fresh revelation, walking in full authority and commanding the attention of masses... nope! The kids were not intimidated, and in fact they jumped into his lap and sat at his feet (laughing at his jokes - I KNOW Jesus had the best jokes!!!).
So why does God value children so highly and why should we? We should value what God values. If our values differ from the Lord's - ONE of them needs to change, and its not the Lord! Besides offering us all the joys, laughter, perfect cheeks to kiss, etc. etc. children offer us an invitation to come & die. You see, I BENEFIT from all the things I previously listed, I'm still thinking about myself and the benefits I get from these little ones! Praise God for those precious things! It honestly really helps seeing those unbelievable blue eyes and adorable faces (see picture above!). Those little things make the day-to-day so much more enjoyable and rewarding but children really echo the same message of the cross! When you hear that beautiful little baby cry or that toddler stomping his feet down the hall, hear the message,
"Come and die! Die to yourself, parent, and wake up every hour of the night to feed, cleanse and clothe me! Die to your own dreams and desires, parent, and sustain my life! Forget what you want to do, do what I need you to do! Become selfless. Become generous. Become a tangible picture of Jesus and a manifestation of his love for me. Spend time with me and show me how much value I possess! Love me even at your own expense!!!"
Sound like the cross? Self-preservation will be the death of the American Church if we're not careful. So many of the unvoiced values we inwardly uphold violently conflict with the words of Jesus,
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"
1. Looking into the face of your child - even the little squealers wreaking havoc in the grocery store - I invite you to ask Jesus, "what is Your perspective on these little ones"?
2. Ask yourself, in what ways can I become more like a child today?
3. How can I stand up for, disciple and pour into a child today or this week?
#children #thecross #comeanddie #selfpreservation #AmericanChurch #values #missionarylife