Sitting here in the breakfast room (before it opens) of a Hampton Inn in the early morning hours, I hear the voices of little children ringing in my ears.
No. There’s no one else in here. I’m alone. But the voices I hear are the children from last week’s Wellandport VBS just singing their little hearts out.
“Oh, how I love Jesus…”
“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart…”
“Our God is an Awesome God…”
“Oh, boys do you love Jesus…”
Throughout the month of July, we were blessed to be with these brethren, who are loving, gracious, hospitable, and so very encouraging. But the month was highlighted by these children whose bright smiles, kind words, and enthusiastic involvement touched our hearts.
While it was visibly displayed during the VBS, we saw it throughout the month. Children enjoying Bible classes. Showing respect in worship. And expressing appreciation for the sermons. One little 7-year-old boy proudly showed me his sermon notes.
As I think of these children and others like them we’ve met through the years, I’m reminded of this incident in the life of Christ.
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,
3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Jesus’ response to their question was probably shocking to them. They weren’t expecting a little child to represent “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom?”
Greatness, they thought, as we do today, is expressed by mighty works, extraordinary accomplishments, and successful ventures. We look for its manifestation by material means. Monetary accumulation. Physical feats. And rising to positions of power and prestige.
Even spiritually, we’re sometimes tempted to measure greatness by the size of a congregation. The beauty of the building. The amount of the contribution. The vast number of programs. Their influence in the brotherhood. The preachers whom we hold in high esteem who’ve been there. Or the number of additions.
I wonder if the disciples were thinking in those terms? Who’s the greatest? Peter? James? John? Would it be one who was added later–Saul of Tarsus, who became the apostle Paul?
No. Jesus said greatness is epitomized in possessing the humility of a little child. Their meekness. Their tender hearts. Their vulnerability. Their transparency. Their sense of littleness and lowliness.
While not in the immediate context, I think of other qualities of little children. Qualities we need to emulate. I see and feel their…
Tradition has it, according to Barclay that the child Jesus set before them grew up to become Ignatius of Antioch, “who in later days became a great servant of the Church, a great writer, and finally a martyr for Christ.” I doubt that. But I wonder about the children from VBS.
I hear them, singing, “humble yourself in the sight of the Lord…and He will lift you up.” Who will be they grow up to be? What will they become? Where will they go? How will they serve?
Adults can learn a lot from the little children.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman