Summertime and Children's Spiritual Growth

When my husband Daniel was a little boy, his mother would sit on their front porch in the summer and read the Bible to him and his brother. Those Old Testament stories were so fascinating that soon the neighborhood children began to join them. "Is your mother going to read today?" the children would ask Daniel.

Three of the Gospels record the story of Jesus welcoming, holding, and blessing children. Only two or three times in the Gospels is Jesus shown as angry. This is one of them. "People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them" (Mark 10:13). The disciples thought He would not welcome the little ones. The idea infuriated Him.

"When Jesus saw this, he was indignant." The words that follow this rare expression of Jesus' anger are full of both His tender love for the children and the thunder of His wrath against those who saw no reason to bring children to Him.

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these" (vs. 14).

Mothers of young children may think, "My children are small. There will be plenty of time to pray for them and teach  them when they're older." But when Jesus wept over Jerusalem, He said, "If only you had known on what your peace depends." Parents' peace in later years is often determined by what they do when their children are young.

Reading Bible stories and encouraging them to memorize scripture by giving rewards can help make those summer days both profitable and enjoyable. Andrew Murray said, "Every activity can be used to point the little ones to the unseen and ever-near Father in heaven."

Dear Jesus, thank You for still wanting to bless the children.

"And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them" (Mark 10:16).