“Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” Matt. 18:5
Effective parenting and grandparenting demands intentionality. Each day we stand at a crossroads and must choose the path we will walk—the one marked by my agenda or the one determined by God’s agenda. That was the challenge God laid before His people through Jeremiah—ask for the good way, then walk in it as intentional travelers. (Jeremiah 6:16)
One marker pointing to the “good way” is found in Matthew 18—welcome the children. This is not a path meant only for parents and grandparents, but EVERY adult. We are all called to proactively welcome children, because in so doing we declare our allegiance to Christ and the heart of the Father.
What does it mean to welcome a little child? Perhaps this might best be answered by looking at what it does NOT mean.
- It does not mean worshiping children and making them the center of the universe. Grandparents never do that, do they?
- Nor does mean treating them with contempt as second-class citizens.
- It does not mean ignoring our responsibility to guide, teach and embrace them lovingly.
- It does not mean getting upset because they aren’t acting like adults when they run through the church halls.
- It does not mean getting irritated when a child cries in the worship service.
- It does not mean doing anything which would hinder a child from coming to Christ and knowing how precious they are.
Grandparents love their grandchildren. But do we welcome their questions and intrusions on our space the way Christ welcomes them?
Welcoming children is something Jesus takes very seriously. In fact, He makes it very clear that how the Father feels about any adult who hinders a child from coming to Him in any way, whether directly or indirectly. It would be better for such a person to tie a huge stone around their neck and jump into the sea.
Good way travelers look for ways to reach out and welcome the children in their family, their church, and their neighborhood rather than ignoring them or complaining about them. The thing about choosing to travel the good way marked out by God’s Word is that it always leads to rest for our souls.
Amazing isn’t it! A welcoming heart leads to a restful soul.