For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. (Mk 10:14 NLT)
This week we have been studying a simple little story about some children who were brought to Jesus. I say simple because, after all, it’s not like it’s a story about Jesus and a king or even an adult. It’s only Jesus and some children. So why is it even in the Bible? According to Christ, it’s there because it tells us a lot about the kingdom of heaven.
Down through the years I have had many parents talk with me about their child’s salvation. Perhaps the child is five or six, or maybe only four; can someone that young be saved? Some would say ‘no.’ To them, children that young cannot fully understand what it means to repent of sin and turn to Christ. I admit, children that young can’t grasp all the wonder of salvation, but neither can a lot of us adults for that matter. Only God knows when someone is truly saved, but I believe that even children at a very young age can be, if the gospel is presented to them on their level.
Charles Spurgeon said something very important about children and their salvation –
“Some, too, have hindered the children because they have been forgetful of the child’s value. The soul’s price does not depend upon its years. “Oh, it is only a child!” “Children are a nuisance.” “Children are always getting in the way.” This talk is common. God forgive those who despise the little ones! Will you be very angry if I say that a boy is more worth saving than a man? It is infinite mercy on God’s part to save those who are seventy—for what good can they now do with the end of their lives? When we get to be 50 or 60, we are almost worn out and, if we have spent all our early days with the devil, what remains for God? But these dear boys and girls—there is something to be made out of them! If now they yield themselves to Christ, they may have a long, happy and holy day before them in which they may serve God with all their hearts! Who knows what Glory God may have of them? Heathen lands may call them blessed! Whole nations may be enlightened by them!”
Spurgeon is not diminishing the importance of reaching grown men and women with the gospel; rather he is emphasizing the value of reaching children and youth. Though they may be saved, there are many grown men and women who have a hard time serving the Lord. Some have a hard time because they cannot forgive themselves of past sins. Others have a hard time because of old habits. Still others struggle with serving the Lord because their life is too wrapped up in their own world. But children are young and impressionable and their whole life is ahead of them. Rarely will a man who is saved at sixty, give the rest of his life to Christian service. But a child at age six, can be taken and taught the things of God and perhaps, as Spurgeon suggests, be called to a heathen land as a missionary or to his own nation as an evangelist.
The disciples made a great mistake that day by not seeing the children through the eyes of God. They focused only on the present commotion; Jesus however, focused on the future of the church. Perhaps in that group of youngsters, Jesus saw future pastors and missionaries and evangelists and SS teachers. (Yes, even Awana workers!) Jesus didn’t see a problem. Jesus saw potential. And though He was probably more physically exhausted than anyone present, He took the time to share some of Himself with these children.