In each of the gospels, we find Jesus pouring himself into the lives of children. Many times, the disciples and religious leaders tried to chase the kids away and pull Jesus back into “real” ministry. But Jesus corrected them: “Let the children come to me, do not forbid them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14). Even when crowds of people gathered around Jesus to be touched and healed, He stopped to lay hands on children, hold them in His arms, and bless them.
We sing “Jesus Loves The Little Children” for a reason. Throughout Scripture, it’s very clear that God values children much more than the adults do—especially the religious leaders, but also the disciples. Jesus warned them, “If one of these little children believes in me, and someone causes that child to sin, it would be better for that person to have a large stone tied around his neck and be drowned in the sea” (Mark 9:42). Jesus was serious about protecting, loving, and nurturing children.
In the culture of first century Palestine, people considered children to be a nuisance, but Jesus recognized the value of each child. He knows that there is more to children than just their playful nature and innocence. Inside each one is the soul that’s precious to the Father. When I speak to parents and other adults, I often challenge them with these words: “Whatever is important to God should be important to you. Do your actions demonstrate that you believe children are important to God?” I encourage adults to ask themselves:
— Is my schedule too full to take time to show love to a child?
— Am I too busy with “real” ministry to get involved in training children in God’s Word and ways?
— When I see a hurting child in the hallway, do I stop and put my arm around him or her, or do I just keep going?
It doesn’t take a “special calling” to demonstrate God’s love to a child. If we’re truly Christ’s followers, His priorities become our priorities, and the things that break His heart break ours. Children are important to God, and they should be important to each of us.