But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”
When I have some leisure time, I love to go to a Barnes and Noble Bookstore, find some children’s picture books and read. That store really knows how to merchandise and showcase children’s books! These simple books can teach some important lessons. I wish I had enjoyed reading my summer Weekly Reader when I was in elementary school as much as I enjoy reading these books today. Of course, there has been an element of research work in these outings as Dr. Negley and I have scouted out books for our popular summer sermon series, “Good News for All God’s Children.” This work has been fun! I believe most of the congregation agrees that they have learned something when we have shared these books in worship. These books are not just for children!
And Jesus’ ministry was not just for adults! In today’s scripture lesson people are bringing their children, even infants, that Jesus might touch them. The disciples object to the attention Jesus is paying to the children. They know that Jesus is too busy teaching and preaching about the kingdom of God. There is no time for hugging children and kissing babies. They know Jesus has more important things to do!
But Jesus teaches them how important this aspect of His ministry is! Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” We need to become like children … eager and excited to learn. Truly the Good News is for all God’s children!
Next time you have some leisure time, you might just want to check out the Children’s Corner of a Barnes and Noble Bookstore. In addition to a children’s picture book, you might also pick up a children’s Bible and do a little reading there too!
O God, we thank You that You are not too busy to hear a child’s prayer whether he or she is 5 or 50 years old, 8 or 80 years old. We thank You that children were important to Jesus and He made time for them. Help us to realize that we are never too old to learn and that, even as adults, we can learn simple, but important lessons in books, primarily written for children. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.