The value of children

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My little Zeke. He’s adorable. When he was about 18 months he went through the developmental stage of find-Mom’s-Bible-and-do-weird-stuff-to-it. You can not fault the kid for thinking that the Word of the Lord is interesting. He ripped up most of Psalm 139 into itty bitty, almost unsalvageable pieces. There is a large hole in verses 22 through the end that I still have been unable to find. He highlighted all of Matthew 19 and some of 20, so he’s not bent on destruction, just discovery. I value my children growing up with Bibles sitting around, so I invested in my first Bible cover, which is faithful to this day.

Children are special, no doubt. In Isaiah, we learn a little more of the value God places on children and why we are called to value then. Even if you translate this passage in the broader sense of children as all of God’s people of any age, you can see why the application to the tiniest child of God is not off.

Please read Isaiah 29:22-24. This is the Gospel at the end of a passage reminding Israel that unfaithfulness hurts.

 Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:

“Jacob shall no more be ashamed,
    no more shall his face grow pale.
23 For when he sees his children,
    the work of my hands, in his midst,
    they will sanctify my name;
they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob
    and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24 And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding,
    and those who murmur will accept instruction.”

God tells the people that when they look to the future, look past their present circumstances, He has a long term plan. What turns the tide of shame in this passage? God working through children.

Children give us hope.

Their very presence in this world is a message of endurance from an unchanging God. The next generation reminds us that life will continue, despite the heartache and pain, a fresh new day, a new birth, will dawn.

Let’s bullet point some things we can learn as God’s children looking at actual little children.

  • Children cause us to honor God. We praise God for the next generation, we recognize the miracle of life He has created, and we desire some kind of stability and morality for them. It spurs us on to consider and continue in the Faith.
  • Children make us talk about God. In wanting to bring our children, or the children of the world, to a loving God, we talk about the Faith, we grow ourselves, we open our hearts in ways we may not have otherwise. If we don’t bring it up, they have questions and it never dawned on them to keep their mouths closed, particularly on “politically incorrect” topics. Let us help them to feel comfortable enough to keep asking those questions. Let’s spur on the next generation by talking about Him.
  • Children are a mirror of our rebellion. As much as I struggle with each of my children’s rebellious spirits, I acutely feel the need for them to understand the reality of grace and forgiveness in their lives. When I look at my children, I see my own painful rebellion. I go my own way. I have my own ideas, when My Father in Heaven clearly knows best. Thank goodness for the family of God for me to fall against when I need mercy. Thank goodness that I can be that living mercy to my children, even when we both have to endure the consequences for our painful actions.
  • Children mirror trust and faith. Children get it when we don’t. They can smell inauthenticity a mile away, but they also are willing to be all-in despite our weaknesses and flaws. They lean on God in simple prayers and don’t need all the bells and whistles to bring them to meet with the Savior; a conversation, a small craft to hang in their room, simple relationship is enough to keep them coming back to church and learning about God again and again.

Read Isaiah 29:24 again. Write it out if you can. It holds a promise for when we travel our own ways, when our children travel their own paths, away from God.

“And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding,
    and those who murmur will accept instruction.”

He knows the prodigal. He sees their struggle. He hears the grumbles and the moans, the ranting, and the hiding. He brings us back to Him. The lost are found in Him. (Luke 15)

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Malachi 2:10 reminds us that all God’s children, faithful, unfaithful, believer, unbeliever, infant, adult, male, female, are to be treasured, because of that very title – Child of God.

Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?

Abortion, not ok. Pouring judgment out on our unbelieving neighbor, not ok. Placing less value on the high schooler’s opinion in church, than the middle-aged leader, not ok. Leaving the elderly in loneliness, not ok.

Today, look at a child. Let them know that they are seen. Let them know that their very presences sanctifies the name of the Living God. Embrace that childlike-faith part of yourself. Sing a round of Jesus loves me, pray before bedtime, and thank the Lord for being faithful to each and every generation.

 

Exploration:

What do you remember about your faith walk as a child? What or who spoke God’s love over you as you were growing?

Commit to one way of sharing the faith with the next generation today. It need not be something complicated. Just find one way to share God’s Word and Grace with someone under the age of 18. Share your idea with us!

6 thoughts on “The value of children”

  1. When I think of my faith walk as a child, I thank God that my grandparents took me to the count of baptism when I was a baby. I attended church rarely with my parents, but from the times we did go to the Catholic church I learned the Lord’s prayer and part of the Nicene creed. I like what you mentioned about kids and simple crafts-I rang handhelds at a Methodist church for a year when I was 7; I got to attend Sunday school then, & we made a stained glass tissue paper craft with part of Psalm 23 on it. I would lie in bed and look at it. I always believed in God, & remember praying when I was in danger. However, I didn’t get a full picture of who God was and why Jesus died on the cross and rose again until college, when I started going to church regularly and studying the Bible. I thank God for preserving me.
    As to sharing with children, I read the upcoming Sunday readings with my kids during the week, along with a portion of the large catchism and the contemporary faith insert that my husband puts in the bulletin. I spread this out over 3 days (the days my husband is not working from home). This leads to some lovely discussion at times. My kids challenge me to think about and answer some good questions. Thanks for this study, Heidi.

    1. Isn’t it remarkable that you remember that stained glass tissue paper project? These small things matter so much to children. Thank you for sharing, Dana!

  2. As I remember my faith walk as a child, I remember loving to learn more of God’s Word and marveling over it. I was one of those weird kids who liked confirmation class. 🙂 I was blessed to attend Lutheran grade schools, where life was all about faith in Jesus! My mom also spoke God’s love to me as I was growing.

    One way I share God’s love with the next generation is having religion/Bible time with my kids during the years they attend public school. We read or do a study weekly, usually them on their own and then me checking it or asking questions; it is sometimes a struggle to get it done. Also, I am blessed to be the youth leader and Bible study teacher at our church. I pray that more youth would come to learn; I usually send them the study even if they are not there.

    1. I always feel like the youth group fills me up and teaches me something new every time. You’re right, it’s a huge blessing to be a part of their growth!

  3. I grew up as a PK, which for me, was fine. I loved church and Sunday School and VBS. I especially loved the organ music. Oft times, while the organist was play, before I learned to sing the hymns, I would sit at the end of the pew and pretend I was playing the organ, too. And now I’m an organist at my church! My parents were wonderful examples of faith and that gave me a good foundation as I went out into the world myself. I moved back to my home state almost 11 years ago, and was able to spend a lot of time with my Dad before he passed away 4 1/2 years ago. (Mom died in 2002) Those were the best years, and I was still learning from my Dad how firm his faith and trust in the Lord was.
    One of the things that struck me about Dad, was how content he was in leaving all things in God’s hands.

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