And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-4
Jesus makes it very clear in the parables that children are precious and that if we want to witness the splendor of heaven, we must become like children. It’s no surprise, then, that God would use kids to do big things for Him. When I was a wee lad in my late teens, early twenties, I led groups of people from 18 to 68 years of age on trips around the world telling others about the hope found in Jesus. One particular travel stint found us exploring the U.S. for six weeks. We arrived in Atlanta, Georgia for a week stay and found ourselves deplete of clean clothes. We ventured to the local laundromat to remedy the situation. In order to understand the magnitude of this story, you must understand that we were in an area of town where a car backfiring would cause everyone to duck and take cover, and our little fair skinned team of about 10 or so stuck out like a sore thumb. The goal was to get in and get out as quickly as possible. As we were all busy folding our drawers, we heard this sweet voice ask, “Do you know Jesus?” All eyes darted to the direction of this sound to find the 6-year-old boy on our team asking the burliest African American man in the place this very important question. Our goal to go unnoticed was shattered in an instant, but that man engaged that conversation with that little boy in a way that the rest of us probably couldn’t have. I learned a very important lesson that day. Childlike faith is beautiful and simple. I understood what Jesus meant when He told us we must have this in our lives. I also knew that as an adult, I could never squash it even if it presented itself in unlikely situations that caused fear or discomfort.
I think the best story in the Bible of childlike faith is found 1 Samuel 17, with the depiction of the story of David, the young shepherd boy. The soldiers, clad in all their armor were terrified to fight the giant, Goliath. I would be, too. Then here comes the young shepherd boy with his childlike faith that says, “I’ll do it!” He didn’t see the giant. His eyes and his trust were on God. He put on the oversized armor, gathered his rocks, and boldly approached Goliath (actually he ran toward him). The giant’s taunts didn’t even rattle his confidence. He slung one stone and knocked the giant dead. Maybe he was that strong, but I believe it was much more than that. God used this young boy to do something big for Him. Childlike faith isn’t something we have to teach our kids. It’s wired into them. As parents, though, we have a very important job. We have to trust Jesus completely with our little ones. In the name of protection, we want to steer them away from dangerous situations (a young kid facing a giant ready to kill is dangerous!), but steering them away doesn’t allow them to exercise their childlike faith and squashes God being able to use them to do big things. Christmas is a time to remember the babe born in a manger who came to this Earth to do big things for His Father. Have you ever thought of all the players involved in the story of Christ’s birth? Even the donkey, who wasn’t fast or strong but had a very important role of carrying the mother of our Savior to Bethlehem where He would be born? Read this lovely perspective in One Small Donkey, a small animal who did big things for God!
How do you encourage your children to do big things for God?