Summary: A short sermon for Children’s Sunday.
“Praise God for Children!”
By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
The little children were brought to Jesus “for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.”
Now, we may ask in bewilderment, “How could they be with Christ so continuously, seeing what He cared about most, hearing His words, and still fail so horribly to understand Him?”
The answer is easy, but it’s also embarrassing.
It is: “Go find a mirror. Look into it. That will help us fathom the mystery of their clouded minds.”
The danger of being among “the rebukers” hits close to home.
If we think of our children’s Sunday school program as kind of a bother that we must put up with, as something we must tolerate, but rank it in importance far below our adult classes, outings, fund-raisers, and other things…
…are we not rebuking those who would bring young children to Jesus?
When we fail to have anyone willing to lead the United Methodist Youth Fellowship within our church, are we not saying that the children are not really important enough to us?
By the grace of God, we do have a fantastic Sunday school program and very dedicated teachers.
The children who attend Parkview are not, in my estimation, being hindered from coming to know Christ…
…but we can do more!
There are so many kids in the neighborhoods that surround our church who are sleeping or watching t-v at home right now.
Their parents don’t come to church.
Many of them only know of Jesus as a cuss word.
Is it not up to us to go out into these neighborhoods, seek these folks out, and bring them to Christ?
Are we doing this?
Are we willing to do this?
We have invitation cards.
There are currently 5,000 door hangers being printed.
Will we join in this effort?
Jesus told the disciples and Jesus tells us: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Children brought up in church are much more likely to give their lives to Christ later on in life…when the going gets tough…instead of giving their lives to crack, pot, alcohol or whatever else is prowling around looking to gobble them up!
Jesus tells us not to “hinder” the children from coming to Him.
Now hindering may be done unconsciously.
It may come through our failure to act.
We can do this in our homes by making Christ appear unattractive through our own examples.
We can do it by making it obvious that we don’t consider Jesus tremendously important compared to the other things we busy ourselves with.
Our lack of concern about making it to church each Sunday, about attending Sunday school, about prayer, reading the Bible, taking part in the activities of the church…all these things block the way of our children coming to Christ!
I’ve told this story before, but I believe it to be important.
When I was a little child my mother would take my two sisters and myself to Sunday school, while my dad stayed home.
As the busy bread winner, my father didn’t have much time to himself, so he took this time to relax.
Later, he would meet us all at church for worship.
One Sunday morning, at the ripe young age of 4 or 5 I declared: “I don’t want to go to Sunday school! Dad doesn’t go, why should I?”
From that time on, my dad forfeited his “alone time” in order to set the right example for his son.
He began going to Sunday school with the rest of us, and has continued to go ever since.
Many times, our actions do speak louder than words.
I have a colleague who pastors a church made up almost entirely of folks in their sixties, seventies, eighties…
This colleague has had a great number of funerals since arriving at his present appointment, and therefore, the membership is dropping quite rapidly.
He’s trying hard to get the congregation interested in bringing in young families with children, but the congregation is “rebuking him.”
When a young family does happen to visit, they are not friendly and have even been known to advise them to take their children elsewhere.
“We don’t want them here,” they say, “we like things the way they are.”
With that attitude, my friend will have no church to pastor within the next five or ten years.
There are many ways we hinder children from coming to Christ.
And any and all of these hindrances are sin!
In Luke Chapter 17 Jesus tells us: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves.”
Jesus said, directly and solemnly, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them…”
May it be so with us.
May it be so.