I recall a situation that occurred when my daughter, Aiyana, was a toddler; the memory of it will always stay with me. It was bath time, and I was assisting her with removing her clothes when, all of a sudden, she exclaimed, “I can do it by myself.” She then proceeded to put her clothes back on and immediately took them off again. I thought to myself, Well, alright, then! She showed me that she could do it all by herself. She made her independence known that day. Of course, from that point on, she “did it all by herself.”
That is what it’s all about, isn’t it? We are here as parents to train our children to handle things on their own so that they will become good and productive citizens in life. Likewise, as a church, we have the opportunity, when children are placed in our care, to make them a priority, nurture them, and prepare them, as best as possible, for the life to come.
Jesus made children a priority. John Mark’s account regarding Jesus blessing the children shows His love for them and us: “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.’ Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them”—Mark 10:13-16, NLT.
We have a great opportunity before us to help care for God’s children. Psalm 127:3 says that “Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (NKJV). There is no question that God values children, and they are a gift to us.
Fast forward with the story of Aiyana. Just the other day, that little girl who declared her independence as a toddler and is now an adult, sent me a text asking for prayer. She had just finished a 12-hour shift at the hospital. Instead of heading home, she was on her way to assist a friend who was dealing with an emergency with a family member. Without any hesitation, she stepped right in to help, even though it meant that it would be hours before she could get some sleep. Her compassionate heart took over, and God was right there with them in the situation.
We have no way of knowing how things will turn out when the children in our care grow up. What we do know is that, in the time we have them as little ones, we need to do our part to impart wisdom and show them the love of God. God will take care of the rest.
“Too much importance cannot be placed upon the early training of children. The lessons learned, the habits formed, during the years of infancy and childhood, have more to do with the formation of the character and the direction of the life than have all the instruction and training of after years”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 380.
In this issue of the Gleaner, we take some time to highlight the vital work of Children’s Ministries. To all those out there who are working with children, we say “thank you,” and pray that God will continue to order your steps in this important work.