It also teaches that He especially loves little children (Matthew 18:1-6, 19:13-15). In studying the life of Jesus, it is apparent that as He traveled from place to place teaching and ministering, that little children were drawn to Him – and that He in turn welcomed them, encouraged them, loved on them, and blessed them. Several times in the Scriptures Jesus told us to “do whatever He did,” and when it comes to the children in our lives we are to do what Jesus did.
Question – “What children has the Lord placed in your life, and what kind of relationship do you have with them?” You may be a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, coach, neighbor, Children’s Ministry worker. Regardless of who we are or what we do, as Christians we have a responsibility and calling from God to welcome, encourage, love and bless little children like Jesus did! And the Lord said that when we are ministering to the children in our lives – we are ministering to Him (Mark 9:37).
Second Question – “How can we reach out to and minister to the children in our lives?” We can do this in a variety of ways. One of the best ways we can minister to children is by setting aside time to spend with them, showing them that we love and care for them. Love is spelled “t-i-m-e” – and we prioritize time for those people, activities and possessions that we truly care for and love. We must prioritize setting aside time for them, and then we must also in appropriate ways hug them and hold them, letting them know that we love and care for them. Another way to reach out to and minister to children is by overtly affirming them and appreciating them. Affirmation is praising someone for who they are, whereas appreciation is praising someone for what they’ve done. The children in our lives need large amounts of affirmation and appreciation, and will respond positively to genuine attempts to affirm and appreciate. Paul instructed parents to seek to be “encouragers” rather than “discouragers” of children (Ephesians 6:4). Children also need discipline, training and instruction (Ephesians 6:4, Deuteronomy 6:1-9). They need us to teach them what is right and what is wrong – so that they can be successful in their own lives by making the right decisions in life. Children need godly examples in their lives. A boy was watching a pastor do some carpentry work. The pastor asked him, “Are you trying to learn carpentry by watching me?” The young lad responded, “No sir. I just want to see what a preacher says when he hits his thumb with a hammer.” Children are watching pastors, however, they are also observing parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, Children’s Ministry workers, etc., and they need and deserve the very best examples. Finally, children need us to “bless them” (Matthew 19:13-15). “Blessings” were dispensed by biblical persons as they laid their hands on the heads of a child or adult, and prayed over them. In that “blessing prayer” they would affirm the person being prayed for, pray for God’s provision and protection in their lives, and pray for the Lord’s will to be accomplished in their lives. The children in our lives need us to pray for them, with them, and also pray “over them” – as we pray God’s blessings upon their lives.
As you pray today: 1) Pray that the Lord would reveal to you the children in your life that you need to reach out and minister to – and that He would give you insight in how to welcome, encourage, love and bless those children; 2) Pray that you would be a great example and encourager to children, teens and adults alike; and 3) Pray for the children that the Lord has placed in your life. Remember that Jesus said when we “welcome” a child, we are welcoming Him. He also said that if we discourage, hurt or harm children in any way, we will face serious consequences (Matthew 9:42). May we bring “blessing” rather than “burden” to the children that the Lord has placed in our lives!