Mark 9:33-37 & 10:13-16
With today marking the final day of our three-day Vacation Bible School, Pastor Steve delivered a timely sermon about valuing children. He pointed out that 50 percent of our church is under 15, adding that he didn’t want to appeal to our emotions but what Scripture says. The first passage he cited was Mark 9:33-37, where Jesus tells His disciples that greatness comes from service, and that whoever receives a child in His name receives Him.
“How important it is to give our children and same Scripture and learning that we have received,” Steve said. “It is my job to raise my children and consider them more His than mine. It’s hard not to feel an incredible depth of emotion when we look at our children. How deeper should our intensity be for them to know Christ?”
Steve said he asks himself the question: if he died tonight, would his children understand enough to follow Christ? He said we, too, should ask whether our church is doing enough to lead our children to Him, and the children in the West End. The glory we should seek is that of raising kids to follow the Lord as we recognize the sacred obligation we have to teach them His Word. Even something as simple as coloring pictures of Noah’s Ark will affect the way they think when’re 30.
“When I grew up in the 1980s in the Bible Belt, it permeated the air,” Steve said. “My kids aren’t, and their kids won’t. Our kids need to hear what we know.”
Steve mentioned that Jesus responded to His disciples questioning who among them was the greatest not by criticizing greatness, but by teaching them they should aspire to be great in service. We need to serve children with the awareness that they won’t necessarily say “thank you” or appreciate our efforts at the time. But he said it’s not about us; it’s about God. Pursuing God means receiving children and nurturing them in His Word.
Steve then shifted to Mark 10:13-16, which he said took place (figuratively) 15 minutes after the first passage. Even though Jesus had told His disciples to receive children in His name, soon after the disciples were rebuking parents bringing their children to see Christ.
“When Jesus saw it, He was indignant,” Steve said. “He told them to let the children come to Him. The children are the ministry. The impact we have on kids is incalculable. The impact we have on our world as we raise our children in Him is incalculable.”
He then recalled growing up where asking what God’s will for our lives is was a big deal. One day, when his mother asked that question, God rebuked her and said, “If you raise five children for My kingdom, you have done enough.”
“Greatness is sitting in the nursery surrounded by dirty diapers,” Steve said. “It’s teaching your children to forgive another child who hurt them. Or reading the Bible when your children are squirming on the couch and not listening, because you are depositing God’s Word into their spirit. The fruit of this sermon has yet to be seen. It will take generations, but it will be seen.”