“Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:5
Effective parenting and grandparenting demands intentionality. Every day we stand at a crossroads and must choose the path we will walk—the path marked “My Agenda” or the one marked “God’s Agenda”. It was the challenge God laid before His people through the prophet, Jeremiah—ask for the good way, then walk in it as intentional travelers. (Jeremiah 6:16)
One marker pointing to the “good way” is found in Matthew 18—welcome the children. While parents and grandparents are included, Jesus stipulated this as an essential attitude for EVERY adult. We are all called to welcome a little child because in so doing we declare our allegiance to Christ and His heart.
What does it mean to welcome a little child? Perhaps that might best be answered by looking at what it does NOT mean. It does not mean worshiping children and making them the center of the universe—a prevalent mentality in many homes. On the other hand, it does not mean treating them with contempt as second-class citizens either. It does not mean ignoring our responsibility to guide them, teach them and lovingly embrace them as image-bearers of God. It does not mean getting upset because they are children and run around the church building each week. It does not mean getting irritated when a child cries in the worship service (Ooo!…that one hit home). It does not mean doing anything that would hinder a child from coming to Christ and knowing how precious they are to our Lord.
Welcoming the children is something Jesus takes very seriously. In fact, He makes it very clear that anyone who in any way hinders a child, directly or indirectly, from coming to Him will face severe consequences. An intentional traveler along the good way will welcome the little ones just as Christ did. Welcoming is not a passive word. It is active. Good way intentional travelers look for ways to reach out and welcome the children in their family, their church, and their neighborhood rather than ignore them or complain about them.
The good thing about intentionally traveling the good way marked out by God’s Word is that God promises a personal blessing—rest for our souls. That makes the journey worthwhile for everyone! GRANDPAUSE: “I am not asking Him to help me but asking if I may help Him. I seek not His sanction on my plans and designs but seek permission to participate in His plans and designs. I see how it is possible to cultivate God’s presence and endeavor to know His heart.” -F.B. Meyer