A Peculiar Reason to Become Like Little Children
Did you know God wants us to become like little children? Have you ever considered why?
I want to submit to you a peculiar reason for this you might not have considered.
Let us carefully read Matthew 18:2-5 where the disciples asked Jesus ’who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’
2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
This is a serious condition that Jesus gives when He says that unless we become like children, we can by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. It is the same serious conditional language He uses when speaking about being born again:
In John 3:3 Jesus answered [Nicodemus] and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus tried to figure out rebirth in the natural when he asked Jesus ’How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’
But there is a spiritual meaning he is missing.
Jesus gives us the spiritual meaning for being born again when He said we must be born of the Spirit – referring to your spiritual awakening when receiving the Holy Spirit.
And He gives us the spiritual meaning for becoming like little children when He said we must be humble in character and receive them in His Name like He did (setting them in the midst of the disciples).
When do you humbly receive a child putting them in the middle of your meeting? When paying undivided attention to them, and you cannot do it without humility! Anyone who has children, or works with them, will know that to play with them, you have to become like them. Moms dress up like princesses and dads become horses for the princesses. You role-play any part when you enter into their world because you are ’receiving’ them and putting them in the middle of your meeting.
Now don’t fall into the same trap as Nicodemus and just look at this in the natural. Playing with kids is just part of becoming like little children.
I submit to you that a peculiar reason Jesus tells us to become like little children is to simply prioritise the raising up of the next generation.
Who will lead your church in 2060?
Answer: the next generation – perhaps someone from the church’s toddler class…
In the Bible, a generation is 40 years, because the unbelieving Israelite generation died out in the wilderness before the faith-filled next generation entered the promised land. They were the Joshua Generation because Joshua succeeded Moses as leader of the nation.
But there was one fault in the Joshua Generation I want to point out to you.
Judges 2:7 (NKJV) says,
7 So the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He had done for Israel. 10 When all that generation… [died], … [the next generation] arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.
Joshua’s Generation failed to prioritise the raising up of the next generation, and that leads to a slippery slope for a nation without a leader.
If we want to, enter not only the Kingdom of heaven but also ensure the succession of the church, we need to take our responsibility to disciple the next generation seriously.
There are multiple ways of discipleship: one-to-one mentoring, camps, intercession or getting involved in the Sunday school program.
I consider a church’s kids ministry the most important ministry in church. Because the Barna Group’s research, shows that about 64% of salvations takes place before the age of 18.
So the strength of the future church is the strength of the kids’ ministry in the current church.
But also remember that the primary responsibility for discipling children is not with the church, but with parents! You as parents, need to become like little children and prioritise teaching your kids to know Jesus, through simple things like living sincerity, repenting publicly and daily devotions as a family.
Jesus said the church will be built on revelation (Matthew 16:13-19). So if parents are equipped to steward a child’s spiritual experiences they will have a revelation of who Jesus is, and the future of the church will be sure. A while back when reading the story of the cross again to my 3-year old, I believe she really got a revelation of who Jesus is. She told me: “Jesus is not a man, He is God!” which is something she inferred by herself.
Let us be faithful. Let us steward the next generation.