Quite simply, the church must accept the children. How? Simply by loving them and accepting him or her just as Jesus does. Surround them with a love that makes them feel safe and secure. A love that allows them to be children and be themselves. A love that is also expressed in firm and fair discipline. A love that treats each individual child as special. That is the love that Jesus showed these children and which we must show them as well.
But how can we do that specifically? First, we should accept our children’s statements of faith. We need to encourage our children to take a stand for Jesus at any age. That doesn’t mean that they have a clear understanding of all the theological truths we hold; they don’t understand the doctrines. But we allow them to say that they believe in Jesus with all their heart.
Second, we must teach them. That means more than just preparing a lesson for a Sunday School class. It means taking the effort to get to know each child as much as you are able. It means showing that you care for each child as a person. It means being willing to teach, as some of you have done, when no one else has come forward to be a teacher.
We also should listen to the lessons that our children are continually teaching us. The simple truths of the Bible which we have either forgotten or taken for granted are brought home with striking clarity and power by our children. There was a family who had a little girl named Rachel who had a terminal liver disease. Rachel struggled with this disease for over 3 years until she died from it. It was very hard and very sad for the family and for those who knew them and had been with them through this struggle. I conducted the funeral for Rachel and I remember watching Rachel’s older sister, Julia, before and after the funeral. Julia was running around smiling, bubbling, happy as can be. Her mother said to me that Julia can’t understand why everyone is so sad. To her it did not make sense to be sad. Rachel believed in Jesus. And if you believe in Jesus then when you die you go to heaven. That means that Rachel is with Jesus right now in heaven. What better place, what happier place could she be in than with Jesus in heaven?
That is the faith of a child! But you say, “But they don’t understand the hurt, the frustrations of this life, the difficulties and the disappointments!” You’re right, of course, they don’t. But I think they understand the basics of the Gospel much more clearly than many of us with our vast array of Biblical knowledge. Our children have so much to teach us if we are willing to listen to them. In what ways will you bless the children of our church in the weeks to come? Will you trust and accept the amazing gift of grace with the faith of small child? (PASTOR JERRY HOEK)