Matthew 19:14 ESV
Philippians 4:7 ESV
Matthew 18:1-4 ESV
John 20:29 ESV
Matthew 19:26 ESV
From the Jar
I’ve spent a lot of time with many children because I taught in children’s ministry through the years.
I learned that children are wide-eyed and ready to receive whatever God has for them. In all my years of working with children I don’t recall ever hearing a child say they didn’t believe God was alive and well in our world.
I have had many children come to me and say, “Jesus is here, you know.”
I would smile and say, “Yes…Jesus IS here.”
In many circles in the First Century children were not valued as a great asset. If we were to rank the importance of a child at the time of Jesus the cattle and livestock would have been deemed more valuable. Women were also not valued.
Jesus changed all of that. When Jesus said in Matthew 19:14, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” It was clear that Jesus valued children.
Without being told to do so, the children believed that Jesus was special.
They believed His power is real.
What fascinates me is that it’s very possible that the children were not present when Jesus had performed miracles. They didn’t believe in Jesus simply because of what they had seen Him DO.
The children KNEW there was something special about Jesus just by sitting with Him.
So, God is present. God is with us in our world. But there are times when God/Jesus revealed and reveals His presence to us in many ways. It may not be the case with everyone but for me, an identifying factor that God is present usually shows up in the form of peace.
When I am overwhelmed by life and I take time to let God reveal Himself to me, I feel great peace. In Philippians 4:7 Paul tells us, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
God guards our heart and our mind with His peace.
When I stop long enough to recognize the presence of God, I realize that His peace is in my mind and my heart.
I think that’s what children readily experience if they are given the chance early in life.
Remember in Matthew 18:1-4, “the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus was saying we need to come as a child.
Come to belief as a child.
That’s because children can believe even when they don’t see.
Most young children possess the capability to believe even when they don’t physically see something. They haven’t been told not to use their mind’s eye. In John 20:29, “ Jesus said, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.””
That’s why I loved telling Bible Stories to children. They have the ability to put themselves IN the story. They can become part of the ‘reenactment’.
While it’s not easy for some adult people to believe in things they’ve not seen, a child who hasn’t specifically been told not to believe will believe.
I remember a small boy I met years ago in a suburb of London.
I was part of a team that traveled across the ocean to do Vacation Bible School for a church.
We were limited by what supplies we could take on the plane. I had one large suitcase for VBS art supplies and materials. We had a puppet ministry but we didn’t have enough space to take the big puppets.
I wasn’t sure why but I was really disappointed about not being able to take the puppets. I was so obsessed about it that my teammates were even telling me I needed to let it go. As I prayed I thought about the puppet lamb I’d seen on television when I was young. Lamb Chop was on Captain Kangaroo every week and I loved Lamb Chop and Sheri Lewis.
God said to me, “you do know how to sew.”
Oh, of course, God.
So I made sock puppets. They weren’t fancy or detailed, but they could be puppets. I created a village of puppets.
The puppets turned out to be the main attraction for VBS.
Every morning one small British boy would run in and ask to see “the poppets”. The other children would chime in and ask for “the poppets”.
You’d have thought those sock puppets were the greatest thing they’d ever seen. It was such a simple thing, yet it meant so very much to them. They SAW the sock puppets as being real actors. The poppets became their village for Jesus.
In Matthew 19:26 we are told, “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
When I left I couldn’t bear to take any of the supplies back home with us because this church didn’t have books and crayons and art supplies like we had back home. They didn’t have poppets. So, I left the village of poppets in London, England.
I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think an adult would believe those silly handmade sock puppets were so special.
Only a child could see that!
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Believe
Be a child again and believe with God all things are possible!
In God, Deborah