Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Mid-Week Message - Suffer the Children

"But Jesus said, 'Let the children come to me.  Don't stop them!  For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.'"  Matthew 19:14  (NLT)

Some of the fondest memories I have are those of attending Vacation Bible School at local churches.  Even when my parents were not members at any particular church, they allowed me to attend these summer programs.  After being introduced to Christ by our neighbor, Betty Allen, I longed to learn more so VBS was a cherished experience for me.  I can remember lessons on felt boards and learning new songs.  The one craft I recall is making flowers from facial tissue.  

When I became an adult I had the opportunity to teach these classes and I found even greater enjoyment.  How fulfilling it was to impart the love of Jesus to these young hearts and minds.  Many of these children were like little sponges, soaking up the scriptures and yearning to know more.  One summer I was asked to share the story of why Jesus meant so much to me with a group of eight to ten year olds.  A day after I had done so, the mother of one young attendee asked to speak to me privately.  Her daughter had come to her the previous night and talked to her about what I had shared and asked her mom to pray with her to invite Jesus into her heart.  As tears flowed from her eyes and mine, I realized at that moment how precious the young years are and why Jesus said to allow the children to come to Him.  

This has been a tough year for all of us, but I was especially saddened this summer not to see the annual Vacation Bible School signs up at local churches.  The threat of a microscopic virus caused church doors to be locked and this vital resource to be cancelled.  For months, families have been unable to gather together to worship the Lord.  Children have been deprived of being in the one place that regularly delivered the words and love of a living Savior and it breaks my heart.  Jesus said to allow the children to come to Him because He knew that it is easier for children to learn and believe because their hearts and minds are teachable and open.  Their faith is pure and unclouded.  

I hope that parents are attempting to fill the gaps during this time.  I know there are many families that follow in daily Bible reading activities.  But I am also aware that the only exposure many young ones receive to biblical truths takes place in churches.  Children of parents who are not Christians will often be sent to Sunday School or Vacation Bible School because it is something for them to do that gets them out of the house for awhile.  For them, this may be the only opportunity to learn about Jesus.  Although I understand the need to be safe, for the sake of the children I long for these programs to be opened up once again.  

Would you join me in praying for the Father to guard our youth?  Some of them are in homes that are struggling or abusive.  Because they are neither in school or in church, there is no one for them to turn to and no one reaching out to them with the greatest love of all.  Our houses of worship are vital and needed.  Until they are allowed to resume their regular functions, let's all be aware of everyone we encounter, but especially the children.  We never know how important our reactions and words to them may be.  May the Lord use us all as singers of His Song.  God bless.


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