“Children: The Gift That Keeps on Giving”
Pastor Barry Klein, Staples Church of Christ
Before going any further, as my wife and I have three grown children and nine grandchildren, we are aware with you that children can be challenging. It’s good to remember that we were once imperfect kids. As we all own that, let’s spend the rest of our devotion on the rich upside of children.
One of my favorite Scriptures to ponder is Matthew 19:13-15 where we hear that “People brought little children to Jesus for Him to lay His hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.” Please let that scene sink in. Can we imagine the life and laughter that captured those little one’s worlds. The atmosphere was filled with anticipation on both the part of the parents and children. Then, Jesus’ followers of all people, tried to shut the whole enterprise down.
We need to know that culturally, children were neither to be seen or heard. They were not on an equal plane with adults. In value. To the disciples’ defense, they probably thought that Jesus somehow needed to be “protected” from children.
One of my favorite movies to watch with our grandchildren is “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” We see the character played by Dick Van Dyke as one of being an inventor. He is a single dad with two young children, a son and a daughter. His goofy inventions preoccupy his days, so his two children were happy-go-lucky adventurers themselves. In the midst of many unfolding twists and turns, they come upon a land in a story dream that despises children. The people in this land capture children that are found and put them in an underground cavern. This country has a literal professional KIDnapper. The two children end up also being captured.
There was this sense of marginalizing children in Jesus’ day. Tragically, with overloaded schedules and mixed priorities, too many children are marginalized today at best and abused physically, emotionally and sexually at worse. Oh, the heartaching stories out there that are often brought into adulthood in ways that continue to debilitate one’s sense of identity.
But Jesus cuts through all of this and says, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” We then hear, “When He placed His hands on them, He went from there.” One of our widows in our church made and gave me a time intensive counted cross stitch about this whole scene that now hangs on one of our granddaughter’s bedroom walls.
There is a whole other devotion to be written on good touch bad touch, but it’s all centered on the Jesus Who made us all and Who is very clear about relationship design, boundaries and motives in human relationships of which all three are in deep trouble in present-day culture.
Folks, let’s re-embrace God’s incredible gift of children. Let’s intentionally give them unhurried time and attention. Let’s literally get down on their level to listen to their joys and sorrows. Let’s literally hold them tight. Please Google Bill and Gloria Gaither’s song, “We Have This Moment,” Steve and Annie Chapman’s song, “Broken Pieces,” and of course, “The Cat’s in the Cradle.”
Treasure a child!