“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change
and become like little children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child
is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
If anyone causes one of these little ones—
those who believe in me—to stumble,
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.”
Matthew 18:2-6 (NIV)
“And he took the children in his arms,
placed his hands on them and blessed them”
Mark 10:16 (NIV)
As a child in Sunday School all the staff were women. I never had a male teacher until I was 10-11 years old. I had a similar experience in day school. In the 1940’s and 1950’s that was the way of things. Also, at that time expectant fathers were not allowed in the delivery room when their child was born. Not every father changed diapers in that era. Men and babies didn’t mix. Things have radically changed since then and for the good!
Reading the Gospels, we learn how lovingly our Master dealt with small children. He seemed very relaxed among them and delightedly picked them up to bless them. It is easy to imagine that He spoke to them and interacted wonderfully as they were in His arms.
Why is it that we doubt the faith of little children who say they love and believe in Jesus? I knew of one fine Christian father who stopped his teenage children from being baptized because he doubted that they fully understood the implications of being a follower of the Good Shepherd. I was bewildered by his position. If Jesus said that “little ones” believed in Him, who were we to deny them an act of obedience they might desire to do.
It is so important to teach little ones to pray as soon as they learn to speak. Helping them as they learn to ask the blessing at mealtime is also important. We cannot start this activity too soon in their tender years, but we can easily start too late. One of the most precious memories most of us have with our children growing up is bedtime and reading to them and teaching them to pray.
Then, when we as grandparents host grandchildren overnight, we have such a joyful time putting them to bed in the same way we did years earlier with their parents.
Be like Jesus and help train up our little loved ones in the fear of the Lord. You will be helping in their spiritual formation. I have precious memories of living on my grandmother’s farm and sitting beside her as she played hymns on the old pump organ in farmhouse living room. Sometimes I would ask her to explain what words and terms meant. It was a sacred time for me. Today make sacred times for the little ones you love. You will never regret it!
Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak but He is strong
Jesus loves me still today
Walking with me on my way
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live
Jesus loves me He will stay
Close besides me all the way
Thou has bled and died for me
I will henceforth live for Thee
– Anna Bartlett Warner