The Pastor’s Piece – May 2, 2021
Fellowship of Christian Farmers, International
May 2, 2021
Happy Mother’s Day everyone! In honor of our mothers, today’s column is about children. The old adage says that children are to be seen and not heard. Really? Show me a child not making noise, and I’ll show you a child who isn’t feeling well. I’ll take a rambunctious, happy child any day of the week – including Sunday.
Some of the simplest words Jesus ever spoke are found in Mark 10:13-16: “People were bringing little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them.
This is interesting in many ways, not the least of which is the spontaneous desire of parents to bring their children to Jesus. It is still true today – when a baby is born, one of the first things on the parents’ mind is to get their new baby to church. They want to bring their child to Jesus. And it’s no wonder parents loved Jesus because it says when they brought their children to Him, He took them in His arms and blessed them. Think of it – the parents wanted their children to come to Jesus, the boys and girls were not afraid of Him, and He picked them up and blessed them.
Should we not also bring our children to Him? And if we do, will He turn them away? No, He will not. He will embrace our children just as He embraced these children so long ago. Jesus is the little child’s best friend. His blessing has brought favor wherever His name has been heard. Wherever the gospel goes it honors families, it ennobles motherhood, and it protects and preserves the place of children.
Children will come to Jesus if we do not hinder them. Our responsibility is not so much to bring them to Christ as to get things out of the way that hinder them from coming to Jesus. Children naturally love Jesus! In Matthew 10:18 Jesus says: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
Check out that phrase: “their angels in heaven.” Is this a reference to what we commonly call “guardian angels”? Perhaps. Certainly it means that the angels of God watch over little children. What do they do? They protect them, they care for them, they watch over them.
I think I’ve learned something about this ever since our granddaughter arrived in January. When we can’t be with her, her parents send us videos of her. It’s terrific. We watch them over and over, examining every move she makes. She makes these little faces and they’re so cute, and when she grunts and makes noises – you might not believe this – but I can hear her say “Grandpa”. We laugh and we cry and we never grow tired of her. We watch the little daily videos over and over again. And it does something to our hearts every time we see them.
I am captivated by her. Or perhaps I should say, “she has captured my heart,” and she did it without even trying. Her grandmother and I will do whatever we can for that little baby girl. She doesn’t have to ask us. We think about her every minute of the day and can’t wait for more. She is never far from my mind, and no one has to remind me to think about her. There is something inside that I feel, a kind of love and concern and fear and joy all mixed up together.
But if I, a very imperfect father and grandfather, feel that way about my grandchild, how much more does God love her? How much more will God take care of her? How much more will He watch out for her? How much more will He reward her trusting heart?
If my grandchild means so much to me, does she mean any less to God? She is far more precious, for He sends His angels to watch her while she sleeps. Sometimes when I’m busy, I don’t think about her for … maybe … a minute – but the Lord never forgets.The angels who watch over her are in the presence of God. Nothing she needs ever goes unnoticed.
Jesus said in Mathew 18:3: “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Do you want to go to heaven? It’s very simple, really. Just become like a little child. How? Come to Jesus and say, “I need you.” Come to Jesus and say, “I’ve blown it.” Come to Jesus and say, “I’m trusting in you.” That’s like a child, humility, total dependence, complete honesty, no cover-ups, no games, no pride, no conditions, no deals.
Heaven is for people who aren’t ashamed to become like children. That’s the only way anyone ever gets in. You aren’t perfect, that’s the truth. But you don’t have to be perfect for Jesus to love you – that’s grace. You can enter the Kingdom of Heaven if you want to. The door is open to those who are not ashamed to come as little children.
God bless our moms – you are loved and appreciated.
(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin).