January 21 – Prayers of Jesus – Blessing Children

Read Matthew 19:13-15

I love little kids! Having worked in various Sunday School, Bible School and elementary schools for over 50 years, I had better!  I feel it has been one of the greatest honors God has given to me!

There is just something about children that is missing in the rest of the world…

Is it their acceptance of everyone, no matter what skin color, body size or abilities?

Many times, I have seen children volunteering to help special needs classmates in the classroom and on the playground to the dismay of others around them.      

Or could it be their sense of awe of God’s handiwork?  They see the beauty in butterflies, the humor in a donkey’s bray, and the fascination of how water drips from the end of a faucet.   

Or could it be their genuine trust in people?  Or is it their forgiveness of people who have wronged them, unlike some adults who will hold a grudge for years?

As followers of Jesus, we need to look at how He viewed children.  Did He think they should be seen and not heard like several leaders in His times or something different?  Several times Jesus used little children as examples to His followers. 

What was it that Jesus saw in them that the people around Him couldn’t see? 

In Matthew 18, the disciples were arguing about who would be the greatest in Heaven.  Jesus called a child over to Him and said, “Unless you humble yourself as a little child, you will not be in heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the low position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” He saw humbleness.

In Matthew 19:14, He said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” He welcomed them and delighted in them and they in Him and therefore they had direct access to the kingdom of God!

Then He said, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me!” They showed all the traits that followers of Jesus should have and so He saw Himself in them!  

However, He also saw innocence and vulnerability.  In Matthew 18:6, He warned, “If anyone causes one of these little ones who believes in me to sin, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea!”   

Do you have a childlike faith? Not a naïve faith that will fall for anything and is shifting in the wind but a trusting faith that is constantly maturing to make you into a strong faithful follower of Christ? Are you trusting, hungry for the truth, in awe of God’s wonders, humble, and a reflection of Christ Himself to everyone around you?

As Jesus warned, “I tell you, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

What do you need to change today?

Pat Arnold          

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