Psalm 127:3a – Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. (NKJV)
One day, I was looking on YouTube for an anthem that my wife needed to learn for a church service in which she was invited to sing with the choir. While I was listening to it, during a clarinet solo, I heard some small children giggling in the background. Obviously, there were some children in church while the recording was being made.
That reminded me of the summer of 1963 when we were working on a pipeline project in the state of Ohio in the USA. Our house trailer (mobile home) and office trailer were parked on the outskirts of the city of Athens. On the first Sunday when we were there, we went to church. We did not know if they had a place for little children, and no one told us that they did, so we took our four-year-old and two-year-old into church with us. Just to be on the safe side, we sat in the very back pew near an exit door. Our two-year-old tended not always to pay attention, and sure enough, partway into the service, he started to make some noises. I began to feel uncomfortable, and I did not want to disturb the service, but as I was about to get up and take him out of the sanctuary, the minister said words to this effect: "Please stay, sir. There aren't too many children who get a chance to make noise in church."
Well, isn't that the truth! In so many churches, the parents have quit coming to church, or never did, and as a consequence, there are no children either. There are occasions when children are brought and don't behave like we think that they should. Either the parents feel embarrassed and not welcome, or they see nothing wrong with their children's behaviour, and we are distracted.
In Matthew chapter 19, Jesus is talking to people about things which should not be acceptable in society. Because of my time working in Muscat, Oman, where it seemed that very little had changed from biblical times, I can picture the scene in my mind: Jesus sitting on a bench just outside the city wall where the elders meet every day in the shade of a few trees. A number of people are listening to Him and discussing His profound statements. All of a sudden, some more people come through the big gate in the city wall, creating a disruption.
Matthew 19:13 – Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. (NKJV)
The disciples are most unhappy; these people are going to interrupt the discussions which are going so well.
Matthew 19:14 – But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." (NKJV)
When parents with little children come to church, let us all welcome them with open arms, for of such is the future of the church.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, it is our sincere hope and prayer that young families with children will be moved to come to worship. We ask that You will enable us to make them feel welcome. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Lord I'm Coming Home" (Lyrics)