Why Kids Matter | Reaching People
Monday— “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:14
What kind of ogre would hinder little kids from coming to Jesus? We might frown and shake our heads when we read this. Imagine adults refusing to let Jesus bless their children! How disgusting! Then we vote politicians into office who support killing preborn infants in their mothers’ wombs. Or we say things like, “I don’t want to force religion down my kids’ throats, so I’ll let them decide for themselves what to believe about God.” We might tell our own kids God is important, but they watch us choose the lake, the ballgame, or the couch. So as it turns out, there are many ways we might hinder kids from coming to Jesus.
Hypocrisy is one way. “Do what I say, not what I do,” we say and expect our children to respect that. “I don’t know why he got into drugs,” says a dad as he takes a long drag from a joint. “I’m so ashamed of her partying instead of going to students on Wednesdays,” says a mom on her third glass of wine. “Sex before marriage is wrong,” says the mother as she moves her boyfriend into the house. That’s what Jesus was talking about. Little eyes watch and learn. Words fall on deaf ears when adult actions don’t match. Jesus also said about people who hinder little ones from believing in Him: “It’s better for that person if a concrete block was tied to his neck and he was thrown into the sea” (Luke 17:2). God takes note when we hinder little ones.
Final Thought: In what ways might you be hindering one of these little ones who believes in Jesus?
Prayer: Lord God, am I in that group? I want my kids to grow up right, but am I in the way of that? Please show me my own heart and life the way you see it. Forgive me for hindering children and help me to never do it again. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Tuesday— “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:15
“Religion is for the weak and simple-minded,” said Professor Bigshot. “The more intelligent among us know that science explains the universe. Our evolved intellects can solve problems without resorting to superstition or praying to an invisible Santa Clause in the sky.” Well, Professor, YOU’RE RIGHT! It IS impossible to know God when our egos are greater than our understanding. The professor did not realize that he was affirming what Jesus said. Jesus liked to break down gigantic spiritual truths by comparing them to something we easily understand. Like farming. Or fishing. Or sheep. Or a little kid.
The 21st century has seen an explosion in the number of Professor Bigshots. They imagine that they can redefine God to fit their preferences, carve verses they don’t like out of the Bible, and come to God on their own terms. But Jesus took a first-grader and put him in front of the scholars and skeptics. “Unless you have faith like this little guy, you’ll never find God,” He said. Could anything have been more offensive to men who had devoted their lives to studying God? It’s also offensive to us when Jesus says things like, “Unless you abandon all to follow me, you’ll never make it.” Or “Unless you stop relying on your intellect, you’ll never meet God in your spirit.” God prizes childlike faith and says it’s the ONLY way we’ll find Him.
Final Thought: What part of your thinking is keeping you from knowing God the way a little child can?
Prayer: Lord, I bump against things in the Bible I don’t understand and it makes me question it all. But if you could be fully comprehended by me, you wouldn’t be big enough to be God. So I’ll accept what I can’t know and believe it anyway. Amen.
Wednesday— The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. Mark 5:40
The crowd laughed at Him. Nothing’s changed. CNN mocks Him. Prime-time television jokes about Him. Tik-Tok videos redefine Him. And professing Christians ignore Him. Sometimes it takes a little child to connect with Jesus and silence the scoffers. Notice who Jesus brought into the room with Him when He was about to heal a little girl: her father, mother, and His true disciples. He made everybody else leave. Why wouldn’t He want to perform a miracle in front of everyone? Because Jesus has no use for scoffers, mockers, and the arrogant. They would have called it a parlor trick and continued scoffing.
When Jesus took the child’s hand and gave her a command, she was instantly changed—and so were her parents. These parents believed in Jesus when they saw what He did in their daughter’s life. Sometimes by reaching the children, we reach the parents too. They come to church because the kids love Kidslife. They keep listening because their children are becoming more obedient, happier, more honest, and chatting about Bible stories. Parents once far from God may start to wonder if there’s something to this Christianity after all. And because Jesus’ transformed their children, parents receive Him too.
Final Thought: Investing time, money and effort into children’s ministry gives us a way to connect with parents also.
Prayer: Father, do you have a place for me in children’s ministry? Is this an area where I could serve you by serving kids? I want to reach whole families with your good news, so show me where you’d have me start. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thursday— While he was still speaking, messengers told him, “Your daughter is dead…” Mark 5:35
Scholars tested Him, leaders questioned Him, and crowds of adults followed Him. But He left all that to go to the home of a little girl and heal her. Age didn’t seem to matter to Jesus. After all, He’d been twelve years old when He realized His true identity (Luke 2:45-49). This child may have the same story: “I was 12 years old when I met Jesus and He healed me! He called my name and I’ve been His ever since!” Wouldn’t it be amazing if we knew the rest of her story? We wonder how it changed the direction of her life. She had a serious problem, but when her father brought Jesus into her story, everything changed.
Children in 2022 have more serious problems than any generation before them. Babies born after the turn of the century are growing up in a world quite different from the one of their grandparents. Childhood anxiety, depression, and suicide rates have skyrocketed, much of it due to the dysfunction of their homelives. Divorce, sexual abuse, parental addictions, internet predators, pornography exposure—they’re adult issues, but children reap the consequences. On top of that, an ungodly culture urges them to experiment with sex, gender identity, deception, and defiance—all while still on the elementary playground. Children in 2022 have serious problems, but when caring adults bring Jesus into their stories, everything can change.
Final Thought: A child near you has serious problems. What are you doing to help them meet Jesus?
Prayer: Father, help me see the needs of children around me. I know many are experiencing painful circumstances. Just as you healed this little girl in the Bible, you want to heal them. Show me how I can bring them to you. In Jesus name, amen.
Friday— The word of the LORD came to me, saying: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I set you apart… Jeremiah 1:4-5
Children matter to God because they are His. No human being has the power to create another human being. God does that. He uses men and women as tools, but a mother’s womb is God’s workshop. Isn’t it incredible that God knew you before you were born? He knew your name, your adult height, your eye color, and your gender before you did. He told Jeremiah that He had also chosen him for special assignment. And that was before Jeremiah developed skills, talents and interests of his own. When God creates a human being, He does so with His plan in mind. The job of adults is to help a child discover that plan.
Baby turtles hatch from their eggs fully capable of fending for themselves. Baby humans don’t come into the world that way. Nothing is more vulnerable than a little child. They rely completely on adults to care for their needs. And while most decent adults know to provide food, rest, and protection for children, many neglect their spiritual needs. “He’s not old enough,” they say. “I’ll let her decide if she wants to know about God.” Do we say that about education? Doctor appointments? Going to other people’s homes? Of course not. Parents and caregivers give that child what he needs whether he likes the yucky medicine or not. But when it comes to the most critical information of all—how to become part of God’s family—they can duck and hide. Every human being needs to know that they were created by God for purpose. Children’s ministry is one way they learn that.
Final Thought: Part of an adult’s purpose is to help children find theirs.
Prayer: Father, I’ve struggled with my own purpose so it’s been hard to pass it on to others. But you created me for yourself, to worship, serve, and love you with all my heart. Help me pass that truth on to the kids in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.