Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16).
We spend a lot of our time seeking to grow up. Childhood is a phase on the way to adulthood. To maturity. That’s when we really can launch out and be ourselves. And be in control.
That’s why Jesus words here are so striking. Children in his day were not considered important enough to have access to Jesus. They were a nuisance. Jesus had more important things to do than attend to children. How wrong they were.
Children can exercise a simple trust, an uncomplicated belief, a certain imaginative gullibility. They love stories and believe what an adult will tell them, whether it’s the tooth fairy or Santa.
Indeed, Jesus suggests another angle on this. Actually, adults can learn from children. Even as adults we are children of God. No matter how old we may be, we’re still in the child category as far as God is concerned.
Despite the complexity and sophistication of the world we live in, entry to the kingdom of God still requires a child-like trust. That’s not to say we don’t consider deeply the challenges this world brings, but it is to say the foundations of our life are forged in that intimate and trusting bond between a loving God and a trusting child.
What might you and I have to learn from children today?
What might it look like for children to be seen as integral in the life of our church community?