I think Jesus was trying to teach us something really significant when He gathered the crowd together and said to them, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
I am constantly amazed by kids, and as a former children’s pastor, and current pastor, I have seen quite a few kids in my day. Kids have this great and innate ability to call it just like they see it and as a pastor that is incredibly refreshing. Teaching a room of kids is far more intimidating than teaching adults. Why? Across the church (in my own experiences) I have been asked more complex, hard to answer, thought provoking, laugh inducing, heart wrenching, honest questions from children then I ever have from adults. Check out these real questions I’ve been asked.
“What if I pray, but can’t hear God’s voice?”
“Can I have more communion? I like it.”
“Why doesn’t God stop the bad people from hurting me?”
“Can God come visit me?”
“If Jesus was a real kid…did He pick His nose too?”
“If God is everywhere…did He watch me in my school play ?”
“My parents are getting divorced will God ever do that with me?”
Perhaps this was one of the qualities of children that Jesus was trying to impress upon the crowd that day. If so, we as adults, should take note. We should learn transparency, urgency, humor and the art of asking questions.
Children are also capable owning their faith and it’s implication in their lives. When a child “confesses with their mouth, and believes with their heart that Jesus is Lord” they are saved – and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell with them, and within them. (Romans 10:8-10) It should be said clearly and loudly that children get the SAME Holy Spirit that adults do. Just because a child is 6, does not mean they only get a fraction of the Living True God – thats ridiculous.
Yet often we treat children as if they are lesser than us; incapable of ‘real’ ministry and unable to fully participate in the body of Christ. We drag them along until they are 18 and ‘adult’ and suddenly expect them to have skills, passions and maturity ready to go. Yet the whole time they could have matured in those areas we told them, “you’re too young” or “when you are older” or “that’s just for adults.” Kids want to participate, they want to engage, to have ownership – and they are capable of it!
I see no reference in Scripture that indicates kids can’t – but I do see plenty that indicates they can. Check out these biblical examples.
A young girl taken captive demonstrates immense grace toward her captor. (2 Kings 5)
God spoke to a young boy when the adults failed to listen. (1 Samuel 3)
It was a young boy who stood his ground against the giant Goliath. (1 Samuel 17)
A young girl was willing to obey God no matter the cost. (Luke 1:26-56)
A young boy with a sack lunch was ready to help feed people. (John 6:1-15)
A 8 year old boy became king to lead God’s people, and did right before God. (2 Kings 22)
What child do you have in your life that you can encourage to do great things for God? What is Jesus trying to teach you about your own faith through the kids around you?
Want to hear more about kids and God, and what it means for you as an adult? Listen to this recent message from KetchikanNaz: All God’s Children.