Thought for the Month (September 2006)
A favourite story with young children is called ‘I want to be’.
The little girl in the story – the princess – wanders round asking everyone what is the best way to be. From each adult she gets a different answer – kind, brave, clever and so on. Eventually she asks the maid and the answer is another question – ‘What do you want to be?' After a little thought she gives her answer. The picture shows her surrounded by a sea of adult legs and she says … ‘Taller’! This story highlights the world from a child’s perspective but it has a message for adults – how easy it is for children to be overlooked.
When mothers wanted to bring their children to Jesus for a blessing the disciples told them to go away. You can almost hear them saying – ‘They’re only kids, what’s the point of that.’ Jesus’ response was to say ‘Let them come’. He welcomed children, he healed children; he saw the value of children.
On the last Sunday in July the three churches in Rusthall held a joint service to pray for the success of the Holiday Club which was to be held the following week. It was a good service and all three churches were well represented. We were given an idea of what the children would be enjoying whilst learning about the life of Joseph and also had the chance to sing a lively song especially written to accompany the programme. During the service Bob Street led a time of prayer and then everyone was given the chance to sign a poster committing themselves to pray each day for the Holiday Club. This poster was then going to be taken to the Holiday Club to show to the children.
How amazing that would be for those children – to know that all those people had promised to pray for them – that they were not being overlooked or forgotten!
The Holiday Club happens once a year, but week by week we have children and young people coming into our churches. Do we feel, like the disciples, that they’re only kids, so there’s no point? Or that they make too much noise or are too disruptive? In fact, if we make young children feel welcome, if they can learn songs which contain spiritual truths, and hear stories from the Bible – those things will stay with them. They will be there for the Holy Spirit to work on when they are older and facing more difficult times. Young children are very open and ready to learn about new things and we can lay down foundations that can be built upon later.
Sadly many youngsters reach their teens and drift away from the church – this has always happened and probably always will, so we need to see how important those early years are and put as much in as possible while we have the opportunity. We can all play a part even if all we do is smile and say Hi!
If we can encourage these youngsters today, who knows what they may do for God and the church in years to come?
The Holiday Club went very well although it was a little short on numbers, but I am sure that with all that prayer cover God will have been at work in those young hearts.
Hope you all had a great summer.
P.S. Some passages that you might like to read and think about on the subject of children and the Kingdom of Heaven –
Matthew 18:1-6, & 19: 13-15. Mark 10: 13-16, Luke 18:15-17
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