Summary: This a sermon geared towards those who work with young people.
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. “But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them (NRSV).
Proposition: We need to be advocates for our young people on their Christian journey.
Now more than ever, it is imperative that we become advocates for our young people on their Christian journey in order that we may help them gain access to that which is needed for their success. Unfortunately, many of us do not act as advocates but as hindrances to the success of our young people. Instead of helping them we are hindering them. We hinder them when we see them as unimportant. Oh you know what I mean, we have that “young people ought to be seen and not heard” attitude. We say, “Participate in Sunday school but I don’t want to know what you think about it, that is, how it can be made better,” “come to Bible study but don’t make a whole lot of noise down stairs,” or “I want to know that you’re in the sanctuary but I don’t want to hear a peep out of you.” Then, we hinder them when we become too busy to offer any assistance to them. Lets face the music there are some things in this world that our young people just can’t have access to or do without our help. Brothers, how are the boys going to learn to be men if you are never around? Sisters, how are the girls going to learn to be ladies if you are not there to teach them? Furthermore we hinder our young people by the examples we set. Young people learn more by what they see us do than what they hear us say. When we give up to soon the only thing we teach them is that when things get hard then, go ahead and quit. When we harbor unforgiveness in our hearts toward one another they begin to think that’s the way to deal with people. When we have fickle relationships—we smile and act cordial to folk at church but as soon as we get home we get on the phone and start backbiting. Inevitably our young people turn out having the same kinds of relationships with their friends. And some of us, out of our lack of understanding, hinder our young people when we stop them from doing things that would actually benefit them.
This is not the case in our scripture passage. The people in Mark’s narrative were real advocates of young people because they took an interest in their lives and helped them to establish a relationship with Christ that would change their lives forever. And this is what you and I must be in the lives of our young people—real advocates—helping them to succeed on this Christian journey. What does a real advocate for young people do? How do you know that you are advocating for young people and not hindering them?
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