I was listening to a Ted Talk recently and heard the speaker share a story that caused my mind to light up like a New York city street. He shared that while walking on the sidewalk with his niece they approached a puddle of water and she, without hesitation, attempted to leap over the puddle barely missing her mark and splashing water all over the place. Her reaction was ecstatic joy! She wasn’t frozen by doubt before leaping nor did she become depressed for not making it across the puddle of water. There is something inherently valuable in the mind of a child that not only deserves to be preserved but also studied.
While teaching in Judea the Messiah was approached by a group of mothers who were requesting a blessing for their children. It was common for parents to ask for prayers and seek blessings for their children from the rabbi. However, his disciples prevented them for proceeding into his presence to present their request. In other words, they were blocking the door.
In John 10:9 Jesus is quoted as saying: “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” Jesus then seized this teachable moment and responded by saying:
“Suffer the little children and forbid them not to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” KJV
“Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” NLT
“Let the children come to me, don’t put any barriers up to make it difficult for them, for God’s kingdom of love is for one’s just like these.” Remedy
Just a few moments before in chapter eighteen verses one to five Jesus responded to the question ‘who is the greatest in the kingdom of God?’ with the answer: “…unless you are converted and become as little children you will by no means enter the kingdom of God.”
One author states it this way: “The most childlike disciple is the most efficient in labor for God. The heavenly intelligences can cooperate with him who is seeking, not to exalt self, but to save souls. He who feels most deeply his need for divine aid will plead for it and the Holy Spirit will give unto him glimpses of Jesus that will strengthen and uplift the soul.” DOA
I again quote from the same book: “The self-forgetfulness, and the confiding love of a little child are the attributes that heaven values. These are the characteristics of real greatness.” DOA
Below is a short list of characteristics that children possess which reflect the kingdom of God:
The response of the disciples in Matthew nineteen to prevent the parents from approaching Jesus with their children is similar to ours today. In not so obvious ways some of us are also preventing or have prevented our children from entering into the presence of Jesus. Below is a short list of some ways we as parents, guardians and mentors block the door of our children and prevent them from approaching Jesus:
By seeking to live vicariously through them – each child has the right to experience their own journey with God and as a human being. They were not born to channel our personal desires and fulfill our cherished dreams.
By neglecting them – So many children are left to be raised by the media instead of their parents. Others are fed physical food but given little to no emotional support.
By being harsh, abusive and critical of them
By our example – Children generally hear what we say and listen to what we do.
By encouraging them to be worldly-wealthy while being spiritually-bankrupt