Summary: Jesus blessed the children and so must we!
INTRO.- ILL.- A couple had two little boys, ages 8 and 10, who were excessively mischievous. They were always getting into trouble and their parents knew that if any mischief occurred in their town their sons were probably involved.
The boys’ mother heard that a preacher in town had been successful in disciplining children, so she asked if he would speak with her boys. The preacher agreed, but asked to see them individually. So the mother sent her 8-year-old first, in the morning, with the older boy to see the preacher in the afternoon.
The preacher was a big man with a booming voice. He sat the younger boy down and asked him sternly, "Where is God?"
They boy’s mouth dropped open, but he made no response, sitting there with his mouth hanging open, wide-eyed. So the preacher repeated the question in an even sterner tone, "Where is God!!?" Again the boy made no attempt to answer. So the preacher raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy’s face and bellowed, "WHERE IS GOD!?"
The boy screamed and bolted from the room, ran directly home and dove into his closet, slamming the door behind him. When his older brother found him in the closet, he asked, "What happened?"
The younger brother, gasping for breath, replied, "We are in BIG trouble this time, dude. God is missing - and they think WE did it!"
ILL.- Child’s Perspective on Retirement. A teacher asked her young pupils how they spent their vacation. One child wrote the following:
"We always used to spend the holidays with Grandma and Grandpa. They used to live here in a big brick house, but Grandpa got retarded and they moved to Florida and now they live in a place with a lot of other retarded people.
"They live in a tin box and have rocks painted green to look like grass. They ride around on big tricycles and wear nametags because they don’t know who they are anymore. They go to a building called a wrecked center, but they must have got it fixed, because it is all right now.
“They play games and do exercises there, but they don’t do them very well. There is a swimming pool, too, but they all jump up and down in it with their hats on. I guess they don’t know how to swim.
“At their gate, there is a dollhouse with a little old man sitting in it. He watches all day so nobody can escape. Sometimes they sneak out. Then they go cruising in their golf carts.
“My Grandma used to bake cookies and stuff, but I guess she forgot how. Nobody there cooks, they just eat out. And they eat the same thing every night: Early Birds. Some of the people can’t get past the man in the dollhouse to go out. So the ones who do get out bring food back to the wrecked center and call it potluck.
“My Grandma says Grandpa worked all his life to earn his retardment and says I should work hard so I can be retarded some day, too. When I earn my retardment I want to be the man in the dollhouse. Then I will let people out so they can visit their grandchildren."
God bless the children! They need to be blessed by us. In our text, Jesus blessed the children. The disciples apparently thought that Jesus didn’t have time for children, but they were wrong.
One writer said, “The disciples thought that Jesus needed protection from bothersome children. But what Jesus points out is that the children needed protection from bumbling adults.”
Jesus said, “Do not hinder them,” meaning “do not hinder them from coming to me.” And we adults do that at times. How so? We hinder children by deed and by direction.
Our own deeds indicate or show that we are not as interested in Jesus as we ought to be. We put things before Jesus and the church. And children see this. THEY ARE NOT FOOLED. They see where our values are.
ILL.- When daddy or mommy take off some weekend to go play golf or whatever and make no effort to go to church, the children see this, learn from this and are hindered in their faith. OUR CHILDREN ARE WATCHING US AND LEARNING.
We also hinder by direction, that is, by the direction we point them.
ILL.- Some father may say to his son, “You don’t need to go to church. All those people are a bunch of hypocrites. Besides, there is no god anyway.”
I know that we wouldn’t say those things to our child, but some people would. However, there may be times when we do give our children bad advice about life. For example, someone might say to their kid, “It’s ok to drink a little beer once in a while. It won’t hurt you.”