Carrying the Kingdom for the Next Generation
Over the course of working with children, I’m often confronted with the reality that across the world, what we give our children is not always the best. Whether it's resources, time, or - a more costly price - ourselves, we tend to not see our children as the asset in our communities. Historically, children have been slaves, property, and have been treated like nothing more than something that should be “not seen nor heard”. In other words, children were not considered a blessing.When we break down the word “blessing”, the root is “happy”. Historically, including when Jesus walked the earth, children have not been seen for the happiness that they bring to life. Yet through it all, even amidst the historical norm, Jesus saw the value in children.He exposed Himself to criticism and weakness by stopping for them. Many times over the course of my interactions with children, I’ve often been struck by the lack of value I, a Children’s Pastor, have placed on encountering children. Of course, I'm for children and love to train and equip them but I have found myself not allowing them to encounter me due to business or distraction.
In Matthew, Jesus says:
Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” After laying His hands on them, He departed from there.
As I was reading over this passage one day, I felt The Lord say, "Do you let children encounter you?" I didn't know what He meant by that, but I know when The Lord asks you a question it usually means you don't. As I meditated on the scripture, I had a couple of "aha" moments.
First, I noticed that Jesus left after imparting what He had to the children. The passage doesn't indicate if Jesus actually laid hands on anyone other then the children. This means that whoever wanted an impartation had to turn to the children and ask them to lay hands on them. What if we are missing impartation from children? Do we even value what the children carry?
Second, every adult who loves The Lord has the Kingdom inside of them. Jesus is our model for how to live the normal Christian life. If Jesus, our model, He knew the value of the Kingdom He carried and that He had something to give the children, why don't we? If we understand that the Kingdom we carry inside of us is for the next generation, we will interact with children differently.