I think that it is fairly obvious from scripture that God has an intense and reckless love for children.
“And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.” Mark 10:13-16 ESV
Over the past three weeks I have been working alongside hundred of volunteers processing shoeboxes at the Operation Christmas Child processing center here in Boone, North Carolina.
We processed here in Boone alone over 744,000 shoeboxes that will travel around the world and into the arms of a needy child somewhere on the planet. By receiving these shoebox gifts these children have an open door to hear the life saving message of Jesus Christ. Many also have the opportunity to take part in a 12-week discipleship program where they can learn in depth about thriving in a relationship with God.
As I’ve worked in that processing center God has continually and gently reminded me of the importance of children and how near and dear they are to the heart of God.
He has reminded me that I am to “receive the kingdom of God like a small child.”
He brought me to tears several times as I laid hands on a shoebox and He reminded me the importance of both reaching children for Jesus AND the need to be willing to humble myself like a child to be sensitive to the message of Christ.
What does it mean to “receive the kingdom of God like a small child”?
Come with a pure heart. I do believe from my studies that scripture tells us that we are born with the original sin of Adam, but overall children have not been hardened by difficult things of the world and hurts that many of us carry with us. When we come to know Jesus we recognize our sin, ask for the forgiveness of Jesus and ask Him to cleanse us of it. He washes our hearts clean. Children are at a place where they can do this more easily, they don’t have as much that they are holding on to such as hurts and other habits that many of us hold on to that hinder our walk with God.
Trust. Children are willing to trust no matter what. Again they believe what they are told and are not skeptical and distrusting of people. If we trusted God like children trust people then our walk with God would be revolutionized. We would finally take Him at his word, believe what he says, and stop questioning His truths. We would be bold and stop out in faith.
Have a Bold Faith. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Similar to trusting Christ, children have the ability to be sure and certain. This is a trait that many of us lack as adults.
Obedience. There is just something about a child who is taught to share the message of Christ at a young age. Suddenly they are little evangelists. They don’t care what people do or think. They just want to share the message of who Jesus is with others. They have “tasted and seen that he is good.” May our obedience to Christ echo that of the heart of a child.
Now, that I see more clearly what it means to “receive the kingdom of God like a small child” I understand even more why ministering to children is so important!
Many of the children who receive these shoebox gifts from Operation Christmas Child go home and share the message of Christ with their brothers, sisters, friends, aunts, uncles, mother and father. They often don’t just change a child, they can change and impact a whole family, they can start churches and revolutionize villages.
If you missed shoebox collection this year, and you have a heart to impact a child in this way it isn’t too late to pack a box. You can easily build a box online http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/