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In the old Roman world, they did not think much of children. In those days there were many cases of infanticide and child abandonment. Christians of the first century had their jobs cut out for them trying to save many children who had been abandoned by their parents. In Luke 18:15-17, we read about children who were presented to the Lord Jesus Christ. They were very little children, who were thought very little of. They did not have much value as adults did. Apostle Luke made this obvious when he emphasized that they were little children. Our Lord Jesus Christ immediately made it clear to the disciples and those that were there that the children are our future. Our hope is to inherit the Kingdom of God, but our Lord Jesus made it clear that the Kingdom of God belongs to people who are like the children. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” – Luke 18:16-17.
Children are important. They are important in the Kingdom of God, and they are important to us here on earth. When the disciples came to ask our Lord Jesus Christ the question: “Who then, is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” – Matthew 18:1. The Bible says he called a little child to his side and said “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 18:3. We can see that little children are a major part of God’s plan for His kingdom and also a big part of His Church here on earth. Because they constitute such importance in our lives and in the plan of God, we also have responsibilities to make sure that they are well-placed to fulfill their roles here on earth and also in His kingdom.
Children are our future, so we are called to love them, teach them, and protect them. The Word of God in Deuteronomy 4:9-10 teaches us to be careful and live in such a way that we do not forget our life experiences. “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, ‘Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.’” Everything we have learnt from our relationship with God must also be taught to our children, and they in turn should teach them to their children. Obviously, children are God-made vehicles of the gospel. It is only when we teach them that they can turn around and teach their own children too. We must also start early with them. So, when we gather, our principles should be to make sure no one is left behind. The Word of God says, “Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast”. – Joel 2:16a. May the spirit of God be within us every time we gather in Jesus’ name.
We teach love to our children when we model the love of God to them. Our children learn to pray for others when they see us pray for them and for others. They learn to serve when they see us serve others. The most important aspect is that we should share our faith with them. The Bible says we should teach our children the way they should go and when they grow up, they will not depart from it – Proverbs 22:6. We stand on the rock of Jesus, and our children should learn to stand on that rock too. When we teach our children, we are preparing for the future because they are the future. The Church also has a role to play. While parents are primarily responsible for providing biblical training for their children, the same way as Eunice influenced Timothy, and Lois influenced Eunice; the Church also has a role to play in this. The Church must support the parents and offer additional training for the children. On this day, I pray that the importance of the children to our future and the Kingdom of God will continue to be clear to us, so that we can continue to play our God given role in preparing them for their own future role. – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya