We often sing the song “Like A Little Child” and read verses which compare Christians to children, and when I was younger, I didn’t really care for the song or quite understand why children were so important. As I got older, I started to better understand, but it wasn’t until teaching a Bible class at church when I really started to understand just what this means.
13 Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it. 16 And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.
This is something that I’ve had the tendency to overlook when I read, but it’s really one of the most important concepts!
Children are innocent — until a certain point in maturing they don’t yet know about all evils of the world, but they’re already eager to learn and help. Sometimes on Sunday mornings (when I might not even be fully awake myself) they’ll run into the classroom smiling and ready to answer questions. Once we start class, they can’t wait to jump up and have their turn, and they always remember so much when we review from the class before. Even in the worship service you can hear them singing at the top of their lungs. I say all of that because, even though they’re young and don’t know very much, they sure do know enough to keep growing and be little lights in the world — and they do all of it with loving hearts. Of course, they don’t always do the right things, but even so, their hearts are pure and honest. They go to Him without questioning Him! So, in this passage, Jesus compares the kingdom of God to these innocent children coming to Him willingly. Christians need to strive to have that same purity and innocence that these children do. If we don’t strive for this and become “as a little child,” there is no way we’re going to be able to willingly do what He commands and enter His kingdom.
They might not know it, but children can be great examples and encouragements to everyone around them. There are so many things about them that would be incredibly useful traits for all Christians to have and use for the furtherance of the gospel — they have zeal, energy, and they go to God without question. Even though they are little, we can look up to them and learn from them; they shouldn’t be ignored! “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD…” (Psalm 127:3). We should all learn to seek God and let Him lead us “like a little child,” as the song suggests.
Father, when my clumsy footsteps falter,
Patiently and with demeanor mild,
Stretching out Thy hands along my pathway,
Thou hast led me like a little child.
When the fearful darkness overwhelms me,
When in pain I move forlorn, exiled,
Seeking me with words and arms of comfort,
Thou hast held me like a little child.
When allurements beckon me to danger,
And by pleasant perils I’m beguiled,
Wisdom from Thee shows the way to safety,
Thou hast watched me like a little child.
Knowing Thou wilt cherish and protect me,
Mend what’s broken, cleanse what I’ve defiled;
Trusting in Thy goodness without doubting
I have loved Thee like a little child.