"Then people brought little children to Jesus for him
to place his hands on them and pray for them.
But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said,
the little children come to me, and do not hinder
them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such
When he had placed his hands on them,
he went on from there." Matthew 19:13-15
Since this week is Children's Sunday, with a unified service at 11:15 AM, I have the honor and privilege of writing the Pastoral E-letter. If any of you have children, you know that they are unpredictable. They can be adorable and well behaved one moment, and then completely wild, crazy and disobedient the next. My husband, Rob, and I have two little boys of our own. Nathaniel is your typical 3 year old. He asks "why" about everything, has the amount of energy that I could only dream of having after 25 cups of coffee, and is passionate about everything. Theo is 17 months old and is our little "ninja baby." He climbs everything in sight, finds great delight in destroying things, and loves to try and be like his big brother.
I never know how they are going to behave when I take them places. I remember a few months ago at church in the Fellowship Hall, Nathaniel wanted croutons and ranch dressing to go along with his dinner. I went up to the salad bar, got a bowl, put croutons in it and ranch dressing on top of the croutons. BIG MISTAKE. If you were there that day, you may have heard or seen Nathaniel throw himself to the floor, screaming, "NO MOMMY, NO!!!" Since I got him exactly what he asked for, I had no idea where this meltdown was coming from. It continued for a while and as he got louder and my face got redder, he screamed, "I DON'T WANT RANCH ON THE CROUTONS!!!!"
Looking back now, I can laugh about the irony of the Children's Ministry Director's child acting like a terror, but I'm sure all parents have felt this. Kids are wildcards, and you have no idea how they will act from minute to minute.
I wonder if any of this crossed the disciples' minds when they tried to stop the little kids from coming to Jesus. What if the kids were dirty? What if they're too loud? What if they said something inappropriate? Clearly they thought Jesus was far too busy and important to waste or even risk His time with these little children.
This is one of the reasons I love this story so much. Jesus shows that nothing was farther from the truth. While He's in the midst of a serious conversation with His followers about sin and divorce, He doesn't turn the children away. He doesn't tell them to come back at another time or even pass them off on one of His disciples. He says, "Let the little children come to me."
Jesus welcomed the children into His arms and I believe He still does that today. They didn't have to be quiet and perfect to come to Jesus, they were invited to come just as they were. Christ truly loved and had a heart for these kids. As Christ's body, the church is also called to welcome the children. It has been so exciting for me to see this happening every month at Fired-Up Friday. We are having kids come with no faith background at all, and they are getting to hear about Jesus. Every month they are asking questions and many of them are hungering to know more. Are they loud? Absolutely. Dirty? Sweaty for sure! Misbehaving? Definitely at times. But Christ is still calling them. Jesus is softening and beginning to speak to their hearts.
Just like the disciples, we have a choice. Is our church too busy to welcome these children? Are they too much of a wildcard? Do we have other things going on so much so that we cannot be bothered? Or is Christ telling us, just as He told the disciples, "Do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
I pray that our church would truly be the body of Christ and would welcome these children and families with open arms.