Note – we had a great trip to New Orleans and are now back putting our noses to the grindstone. Also, I apologize for sending Monday’s devotional out without a title. – HN
(13) And some people brought him children to touch and bless, but his disciples rebuked them. (14) But Jesus was indignant and said, â€œLet the children come to me. Don’t stop them! The kingdom of God is made up of such! (15) Truly I tell you, whoever doesn’t receive the kingdom of God like a child will never come into it. (16) And he embraced them, laid his hands on them, and blessed them. — Mark 10:13-16
This is such a short story, but it has a powerful lesson for us. We often read this and assume that the only people Jesus is concerned with in this story are actual, physical children. And he certainly is concerned with them. Even though we read this over and over, very commonly we have little patience for the needs of children in our churches, our worship services and even our homes. We are quickly put off by crying, or by â€œsillyâ€ questions (often ones we can’t answer). We’re constantly deciding that they’re too young for this or that, or that the adults shouldn’t be interrupted.
If you’re inclined to think that way, remember what Jesus would do. He let the children interrupt him in his very busy activities. This story is followed by the encounter with the rich young ruler. I picture in my mind the crowds gathering around Jesus, pressing in, with various important people wanting to ask questions. The disciples even see this young rich man. He’s a good evangelism target. We need more like him in the kingdom. He’ll fill up the treasury!
But then there are some parents, in that day and age most likely mothers with their children. Why are they bothering Jesus with children? They’re too young to make a choice to follow him anyhow! We don’t have childcare out here on Discipleship Highway!
But Jesus is indignant. He takes the children in his arms, embraces them, blesses them, takes up his valuable time on them.
My question is this: Who am I keeping away from Jesus? And let’s also ask, Who are you keeping away from Jesus?
Is it someone that doesn’t smell right? Is it someone whose lifestyle is questionable? Is it someone whose politics you don’t like? Are they poor? Are they rich and arrogant? Perhaps they just have annoying personalities.
I’m not talking here about whether these people need to reform or not. They probably do. So do I. I’m not a finished work. So do you. You’re not finished either. I’m not talking about the problems they have that they ought to do something about.
The gospel message tells me that whatever their problems, they’ll be better off with those problems PLUS Jesus. This story suggests that Jesus will be indignant if I don’t welcome them. I prefer not to make Jesus indignant.
Who are we keeping away from Jesus? How can we welcome them to him instead?