The Children We Must Not Forget
It's critical for us to empower the Church—down to its youngest member—to be the light of Christ.
When Jesus left Galilee for Judea, large crowds gathered around Him. And in the midst of the gathering, something unique happened…
Children started to emerge from the crowds and approach Jesus.
When the disciples saw this, they quickly stepped in to stop the interruption—rebuking them—because, after all, Jesus had important adult work to do. There were people to heal, miracles to perform, Pharisees to confront. Jesus didn’t have time to entertain the sticky hands, random questions and endless distractions of children, right?
Jesus’ response was clear and counterintuitive to the disciples. “Let the little children come to me,” He said.
And, I believe He’s still saying it today.
In this short statement, Jesus was clarifying a great Kingdom principle: The mission of God was not just relevant to adults. In fact, Jesus went even further, showing that these children were the key to the Kingdom. In all their wide-eyed wonderment, messiness, lack of maturity and understanding—these little ones were the best examples of Kingdom life.
The faith of a child
Children are a vital part of the Kingdom—and they’re not valuable because of what they will grow up to do or accomplish. They’re valuable because they are full-fledged members now. At the present. In this very moment.
These wise words from Jesus remind us of the importance of fostering healthy environments for children to thrive in—and this includes the children of the persecuted Church.
After all, the enemy understands this truth as well. Satan’s desire is to kill, steal and destroy—and that includes little ones. Through the schemes of the enemy, children are exploited, enfolded into extremist armies at young ages, brainwashed, used as suicide bombers and even forced into sex trafficking rings.
Children like Omar, 12, are recruited into 40-day boot camps for ISIS. According to an article in The Economist, “Tomorrow’s Jihadist Lions?” Omar was trained to be one of the shock troops sent into battle with a suicide vest. He was later killed, fighting Syrian government forces in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor. Jihadists have recruited thousands of children in Iraq and Syria, and they are sending more children to their death than ever before.
In January of this year, 51 children blew themselves up as suicide bombers in Mosul alone.
That’s why it’s critical for us, as the Church, to stand with children through prayer, support, aid, discipleship, and trauma care—to strengthen the Christian presence in these dangerous regions. And to empower the Church—down to its youngest members—to be the light of Christ in the midst of darkness.
So let’s stand with them, together, remembering these children are the very examples Jesus used to show us what the Kingdom is like. With your partnership, we will continue the ministry of Jesus, and say, “Let the little children come.”