Sunday, September 07, 2014

Children in the spotlight

"Jesus called a child to Him..." - Artist unknown
"Jesus called a child to Him..." - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Matthew 18:1-20

TO CHEW ON: "Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said…" - Matthew 18:2

In this teaching, where Jesus uses a live illustration—a child—He says some important things about children and the adults who guard them, care for them, and train them.

Children have qualities we adults should desire.
Jesus talks about entering the kingdom of heaven by becoming " ' ...as little children...' " (Matthew 18:3). Of course He doesn't mean we physically shrink down in size. The change is one of spirit. To even enter the kingdom of God, we need the childlike spirit of trust, dependence on God, and willingness to do what He says, like a child trusts and listens to a loving parent.

We become great in the kingdom when we have the humility of children (Matthew 18:4). With no pretense or attempt to impress, unspoiled children don't edit their behavior to win over the wealthy or be seen with the influential. They don't snub the person with ragged clothes or avoid the mentally challenged (though they may embarrass us with their frank comments about bad smells).

Children need the protection and care of adults.
Jesus curses the one who causes a child to sin (Matthew 18:6). He suggests that losing a limb to stop such offense is preferable to being whole and stumbling someone.

We shouldn't ignore or despise children. They have angelic advocates with God (Matthew 18:10). Their salvation is as important to Him as the one missing sheep is important to the shepherd of 100 (Matthew 18:14).

Our own children and grandchildren aside, we do well to ask ourselves: How do we feel about children? How do we treat them? Do we have patience with them? Are we kind to them? Or when they, say, interrupt the church service with their fussing do we send them or their parents dirty looks? When they get carried away on our street shooting their balls into our flowers or our yards, are we angry and abrupt?

In our interactions with children, let's remember how much God loves and values them. Let's be careful not to be those He condemns for giving offense.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for Your attention to children. Help me to be childlike in trust and humility, and always kind to the children in my life. Amen.

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Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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