When my son was 4 years old, he arrived at church with the rest of my family. One of our most faithful elderly men, who always showed up early, shook my son’s hand, bent down and said, “Good morning.”
My son replied, “You have bad breath.”
Not on my agenda
The things kids say! You may have your own story from when you were a kid, or an amusing incident with your own kids. It’s just a reality that kids are going to interrupt adult environments by just being kids.
Jesus’ disciples agreed. He was a busy man. Important, responsible, adult things packed his agenda for the day and he didn’t have the time for kids to interrupt him.
“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’” (Mark 10:13,14).
What strikes me about this situation is comparing the two disapprovals. The first disapproval is the disciples shushing the little kids and scolding the parents for interrupting Jesus. But then Jesus scolds his disciples for scolding the parents.
On Jesus’ agenda
- Notice first that the Bible says, “When Jesus saw this.” Parents, it’s a hard job raising your kids spiritually. When you’re trying hard, and you experience obstacles or endure criticism like these parents, Jesus sees it. He takes notice. He’s paying attention. He’s interested and he cares.
- Secondly, the Bible uses a word here for Jesus’ response that means his scolding of the disciples is much more intense than the disciples’ scolding of the parents. Theirs was disapproval. Jesus became “indignant,” which means angry, or ticked off.
Now, this is huge for all of us (whether a parent or not) who experience kids just behaving like kids, getting in the way, trying to play with big brother or big sister, playing with loud toys while you’re on the phone, crying in the middle of the night, needing help tying their shoes when they already know how, accidentally spilling the milk. Ugh! Kids can be so frustrating!
Here’s the thing. They belong to God’s kingdom as much as you, and actually more than you might think. They are important, and valuable to Jesus, who cares about kids.
- Jesus invites kids and even draws them close.
- Jesus notices kids and watches over their needs.
- Jesus stands up for kids even when adults don’t.
And you, Christian friend, are one of God’s very own children, too.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, you love children so much! I feel assured by your promises that you can take care of kids better than I can. And you take care of me, a child of God. Please bring home all children separated from their families. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Slow down, and use the PRAY acronym.
- Praise (tell God what you appreciate about his love for kids)
- Repent (tell God about your sins, trust in your identity as a child of God)
- Ask (for more faith that Jesus takes care of the kids in your life)
- Yield (talk to God about the next step after you say “Amen,” how you want faith to lead the way, how you are willing to be part of his answer and see it develop for your good)