Faith of a Child

September 30, 2018

You heard the words of Jesus in our third Scripture reading (Mark 10:13-16), “anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it”.  The faith of a child is precious to our Lord.  So precious in fact that Jesus also said in Matthew 18:6 “if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea”.  It is up to us to ensure that not only do we not lead them onto the wrong path, but that we safeguard them from the world leading them astray.  It is up to us to ensure that children come to Jesus, and place their trust in him as their Savior and Lord.  Some might try to relegate the task to pastors, Sunday school teachers, and church youth group leaders.  And while we definitely take this responsibility very seriously, it is the duty of ALL Christians to care for the lambs among us, and seek the lambs that are lost.

How many of you first heard about Jesus at home?  In our first two Scripture readings (Psalm 78-1-7 and Psalm 71:5-6,17-18) you heard how important it is to pass on God’s Word to the next generation; and how God leads us into His truth and cares for us even from birth.  And I’m sure you are all very familiar with Proverbs 22:6, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it”.  Unfortunately there are too many parents today who are of the mindset that it is better to let children make up their own minds about “religion” and feel that sharing the Gospel with them, teaching them to pray to our Heavenly Father in Jesus’ name, or having them attend a Christian church would be influencing their decision.  Do they also let their children make up their own minds about doing homework, taking a bath, or trying drugs?   It is a parent’s responsibility to not only ensure their child’s safety and well-being in this life, but in the one to come as well.  What good is it if a child becomes a highly educated and successful adult, but ends up spending his or her eternity in hell?   And remember, that actions speak louder than words.  While I am happy to see children in church no matter how they get here, and will gladly teach them about our Lord; it makes much more of an impact for children to see their parents in church, reading the Bible at home, praying every day, and displaying the behavior of one who follows Christ, not the world.

But even good Christian parents these days can be overwhelmed with trying to care for children and pursue a career, sometimes along with continuing education as well.  Their time is split in many directions, and often instructing their children in the ways of the Lord gets pushed to the side, even without deliberately meaning to do so.  Instead children are kept busy by staring at the screens of their cell phones, computers, or televisions, where the doctrines of the world flood their receptive minds.   But grandparents, especially if they are retired, have time to see to it that their grandchildren learn about God.   So Gramma and Grampa, bring your grandchildren to church, read the Bible to them, take time to explain the Gospel message so they can understand, and teach them to pray.

I was blessed by being sent to a Lutheran grade school and high school, where Bible study, prayer, and church attendance was encouraged.  But in public school, especially in recent years, this is not the case.  “Mounting pressure from anti-religious groups and individuals has made it difficult to passively pass out Bibles, allow children to read their Bible in schools, or even pray. There are scores of reports of children being reprimanded for praying and reading their Bible at lunch time.”*  But praise God that there are Christians that are willing to stand up for the children who love the Lord, and encourage them in their faith.  ‘Focus on the Family’ has made October 4, “Bring your Bible to School” Day**.  If kids see other kids risk ridicule from fellow students, and even admonition from teachers, they will see that there must be something to following Christ that makes it worthwhile.  Perhaps it will start a conversation that creates an opening for the Holy Spirit to work on another child’s heart.  Face it, children and teens are often more likely to listen to their peers, than to parents, teachers, and pastors.   So those who already love the Lord need to encourage each other, pray for each other, and then share with those who haven’t yet learned how Jesus loves them, died and rose again so they could go to heaven, and will be with them every day to help them through this life.   

Yes, the faith of a child can do much for the Kingdom of God.  And it is often the faith of a child that puts adults to shame.  There is a wonderful example in the Bible – King Josiah (2 Chronicles 34 and 35).  “Josiah became king of Judah when he was only eight years old.  His grandfather Manasseh, and his father Amon, had forsaken the worship of the true God. Nearly all the priests had become evil, and served at the altars of idols; and the people also were wicked and corrupt.  There was no greater person in the kingdom than Josiah. He could do what he pleased, and there was no one to call him to an account. How was it, then, that he did not live a wicked life like his father? It was because his heart was tender, and he humbled himself before God.  He also had a true friend in Hilkiah, the high priest, who led him in the ways of the Lord.  In the twelfth year of his reign he sent men through the land to break down the altars and images of the false gods. And as the temple of the true God had fallen into decay, he had it repaired, and gave much money for this purpose.  While they were cleansing the temple, a copy of the law of God was found, which he caused to be read to all the people. In these ways he showed his deep concern for the honor and worship of God; and he was made a great blessing in his own day, and a bright example for every following age.”***

So whether you are eight or eighty, there is much you can do to ensure that the current generation does not let the light of the Gospel flicker and go out, and the children wander lost in the darkness.  Amen.




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