The Expository Files

 The Worth Of Children

"Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.' And He laid His hands on them and departed from there." (Matt. 19:13-15)

Jesus cares deeply for children. He did not consider them an annoyance on this occasion, but honored them by His touch and tender attention. The text is from Matthew 19. Ken Chumbley well observes: "In this paragraph Christ blesses little children (ironically, the ones most often the victims of divorce or 'live-in' mates)...," (The Gospel of Matthew, p.#343).

A society cannot survive the mistreatment of its' children. Hence, our indignation and anxiety when the news includes word of their oppression daily:

The adult use of children as weapons
The aggressive incitement of children to hate and kill in the name of religious or national preservation
The abduction of children to satisfy perverse and lewd desire
Leaving children in cars to die in the summer heat
Using children as instruments of revenge in divorce/custody cases
The modern practice of abortion
The absence of fathers
Paid, substitute parents

In addition to misbehaviors commonly disapproved, there is the sad failure of parents to attend to the spiritual and moral education of their children. And the neglect of providing warmth, protection, time and example.

Jesus perfectly models the attitude we ought to have toward children and our treatment of them. In our time there should be a renewed emphasis on the preciousness of children. We ought to start at the earliest time to bring them eventually to Christ. Pray with them, pray for them and teach them to pray. Read the Bible to them and with them. Jesus looks with pleasure on all good efforts to protect, nurture and lead children to Him (see 2 Tim. 1:5, 3:15; Prov. 22:6; Psa. 78:1-8; Eph. 6:4; Tit. 2:4). Let us protect their innocence, brighten their lives, teach them our sincerity, give them reasons to trust in God and obey Christ.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate
." (Psa. 127:3-5)

By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 9-9; September 2002