Summary: A sermon that focuses on the congregation and individual members being encouragers, equippers and trainers of children, youth and families
This week we explore what it means for us as individuals and God’s congregation to be encouragers, equippers and trainers of children, youth and families…
Today’s reading from Mark 10:13-14 highlights how the Christian faith is different from many views in the world about children
At the time of Jesus many in society did not think children were important.
They were often treated very poorly.
They were used for cheap labour.
Father’s used their children to increase their wealth.
If they were a nuisance, disabled or of little value they were left to die.
And their opinions were never considered.
It is hard to imagine, considering how precious many of us see children today, what it would have been like in Jesus time.
But the reality was that children were viewed as worthwhile as an unloved sick dirty tom cat.
However Jesus publicly demonstrated that he had a very different view of children
For Jesus children are very important and precious.
They were be taken notice of
and probably even more offensive for the disciples and the crowds, adults could learn something from them.
That being, the most precious thing available, can only be obtained if you are like a child.
So I wonder how would we take it if Jesus said to you,
I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.
Think about the things that people believe give them prestige:
how independent they are
owning particular makes of cars
And when it comes to your relationship with God
What do you believe is important?
Being and looking good.
Your years of being a Christian.
Your knowledge of Christianity.
But in Mark 10:13-15 Jesus hits us with the reality…
If you want to be part of the kingdom of God….
you need to be like a little child…
Not just a child but a little child.
So what is Jesus saying here?
On a number of occasions Jesus tried to help people see that those who are first in this world will be last in the kingdom of God
and those who are last in this world will be first in the kingdom of God.
In the very next story in Mark 10:17-31 Jesus says to a rich man
But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
In other words how God values people is very different to how the world values people.
And so as the busy Jesus interacted with children, when his disciples were rebuking the children, Jesus was highlighting that God wanted children and people who are like children to be part of His kingdom, even though they were being overlooked and even abused by others in society.
And when we think about children, especially little children we are reminded that they are vulnerable, they need help and they depend on others.
Think about it this way.
Can you remember your holidays as a child?
You didn’t have to organise them.
You didn’t have to find the money for them.
In the early days you didn’t even have to pack your own bags.
You simply went along for the ride.
You didn’t have to organise the food.
But these holidays didn’t just happen.
Someone organised them for you.
Someone paid for them.
All you had to do is to go on the holiday and depend on your parents or a good friend who made sure the holiday happened.
Likewise entering the kingdom of God means we need to be like little children.
We need to rely on God to make it possible.
The only way we can enter the kingdom of God is to be dependent on Jesus’.
In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
We can’t earn our place in God’s kingdom.
We can’t push our way in
We don’t have any right to be in God’s kingdom because of our family name or the positions we hold in society.
We simply need to be like little children and rely on Jesus to enter God’s kingdom and be part of God’s kingdom.
Brennan Manning, an author and priest says it like this, “The Gospel declares that no matter how dutiful or prayerful we are, we can’t save ourselves…but when we acknowledge that we are paupers at the door of God’s mercy, then God can make something beautiful of us.”
Being like a little child, in the way Jesus wants us to be a little child is most likely a challenge for most of us.
We live in a world and amongst people who value highly:
People being mature and independent