Even as a Pastor, I sought to be involved with Vacation Bible School and Children's Church in a front line role because, I love children. In most cases, they are not so tainted or jaded by the world, and what you get is purity and innocence of relationship. Their transparent wonder, self-expression and affection melt my heart. They are easily influenced and molded, also, and great care must be taken in our relating to them.
And if you ever wondered what Jesus thought about our precious little ones, this passage in Matthew 18 makes it crystal clear. Jesus puts forth children as the exemplars for greatness in the Kingdom of God. And Jesus reserves some of His most aggressive and violent language for those who would cause harm to children.
In a moment when Jesus is surrounded by inquiring adults clamoring for the label of "great" in God's Kingdom, He calls a child to come to His side. Not great in stature, nor power, not in knowledge, nor accomnplishments, this child simply comes by humble obedience and trust. And therein is the greatness. So Jesus instructs - "Change! Become like a little child or you will never see the Kingdom of Heaven." Great humility; great obedience; great faith ... THAT is what Jesus is looking for.
We must not look down upon the children but rather look for Jesus in the children. We welcome Christ when we welcome them. And Jesus reveals a unique reality - that the children have angels who serve and intercede for them before the face of God! (verse 10) God speaks to our children and ministers to them through His appointed messengers. Ought we not to link arms with their guardian angels, to minister the Word and the blessing of God to them, too?
And how serious is Jesus about the children not being caused to stumble in sin? He says if you trip a child up, having a stone tied around your neck and being flung into the sea would be preferable to the punishment you're going to get. Oh, sorry, not a stone, a "large millstone," and not just into the sea, "drowned in the depths" of the sea. Jesus isn't pulling any punches here. He is dead serious. If your hand or eye is going to cause a child to sin, "cut it off, ""gouge it out." This is not a literal prescription, but an indicator of the magnitude of God's concern for leading our children in holiness and not in sin. "Not one child should be lost." Is that your commitment to the children in your life?
Deal with sin rightly and swiftly - within yourself, with other adults, and in the presence of the children. When we burden the next generation with the consequences of our prideful disobedience to God, it is as if we tie the millstone around THEIR necks ...
May it never be.
Pray: Lord and Savior of every precious child, help us to see their beauty and innocence and do all we can to preserve that. Help us to grasp the ramifications of our sin for the children in our lives. This should be ample motivation to serve You and so bless the little ones.