Director’s Blog: Being “Children of God”
Why are children special in the Kingdom of God? What did Jesus mean when he said that the Kingdom belongs to people who are like the children?
Luke 18:16–17 (NASB95): But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”
What does that mean for us? How should this impact our view of children, especially the vulnerable?
In his book The Ragamuffin Gospel Brennan Manning said in reference to Luke 18, “Children are our model because they have no claim on heaven. If they are close to God it is because they are incompetent, not because they are innocent. If they receive anything it can only be as a gift.”
The Merrian-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines “incompetent” as someone or something that is not legally qualified, inadequate to or unsuitable for a particular purpose, lacking the qualities needed for effective action, unable to function properly.
Jesus used parables frequently in His teaching. The examples He used from everyday life were real and accurate. For example a mustard seed is very small and does grow into a large plant. In the parable of the sower and the seed, when seeds are scattered those which land on tilled soil do take and grow, those which land on rocky soil do not. Therefore we need to pay close attention to what Jesus said about children.
Brennan Manning makes a very valid point about this not being about the innocence of the child. Children for the most part are reliant on others for their well-being. They need adults to care for them, provide for them and protect them. As children of God we find ourselves in the same vulnerable position which children find themselves. We are not innocent therefore we are reliant on God for our salvation. That is what Jesus meant by “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”
How does Jesus’ statement impact children today? It is true that we as the church must care for orphans and vulnerable children but we need to take this a step further. If all children have a special place in the kingdom of God, this means that God is their spiritual father as He is ours. Does this not make them our brothers and sisters in Christ? Do we not share the same father?
If the Bible calls us to love our brothers (and sisters) as 1 John 4:21 calls us to, “And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” Then should we not extend this love to all the children, especially the vulnerable? Therefore, we must revisit the churches view of the child. We need to value, care for, and protect the children in our communities.
Does your church reach out and care for the children in your community? How about the many vulnerable children around the world, how are you showing them love? These are important questions to ask ourselves because Jesus made it very clear that children are special in God’s kingdom.
So when you see a child remember, you are looking at one who has a special place in the heart of God and secondly that there is only room for children in the kingdom, so become like one of them, completely reliant on the Father for everything especially salvation.
Until next time,
Executive Director – Villages of Hope-Africa