February 27 I Wednesday
“Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” —Mark 10:14
The most strategic mission field requires little to no travel and yet can often feel like a cross-cultural missionary experience. Statistically, the most strategic group of people to evangelize is children. According to a survey by the Barna Research Group, approximately 75% of Christians receive Jesus by the age of 21. By the age of 12, most people have already formed their foundational worldviews and thoughts about God. Though God can reach any person at any age, it seems unwise to neglect reaching children when so much of our formation as human beings occurs when we are young.
This was not how they thought in first-century Jewish culture. In Mark 10, when some parents brought their children to Jesus so that He might bless them, the disciples rebuked them. The disciples probably thought they were doing Jesus a favour, allowing Him to get on with other, “more important” ministries. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant with them. “Let the little children come to Me,” He said. To hinder a child from coming to Jesus is to make Him angry with us.
On a church ministry level, sometimes we hinder children from coming to Jesus by paying more attention to the building than to them. Children are gloriously uncoordinated and messy. They break windows, spill their snacks and leave stains, but we must get away from thinking that a church sanctuary is somehow holier than any other building. When Jesus comes again, I do not think He will walk through our churches with white gloves, wiping surfaces, and say, “Look how clean you’ve kept My house.” I expect He will see the stains and rejoice because those stains remind Him of the day one of His children came to know Him for the first time.
While attending Sunday school, youth group or Bible camp can certainly help in our children’s spiritual development, as parents, the onus is ultimately on us to teach our children about God. Do they know that we love Him, trust Him and depend on Him? Do they see us opening our Bibles and praying with thanksgiving in both good times and bad? Have we set up boundaries and priorities in our family life that put God and His will first? These are the experiences that will instill in our children a desire to know God, even if we do not see the fruit until years later.
The Lord Jesus wants to bless our children and welcome them into His kingdom. The question is whether we will make it easy for our children to come to Him.
Prayer: Precious Lord, I ask that You produce in me a heart like Yours for reaching children with the Gospel. Thank You for how You minister to and bless these little ones.