Children are precious to God and they should be to us too!
It’s always a joy and delight to see our children learning about God and growing up in the Lord. In a different kind of context, the apostle John writes (in 3 John 1:4), “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
The Bible has a lot to say about children, and their unique place in the kingdom of God. Within God’s household, we are all (no matter our age) his beloved adopted children (John 1:12; Rom. 8:16).
Jesus loved children and was always deeply concerned for their physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. He always made time for little ones—to speak to them, hug them, and hold them, even when his own disciples thought they were a nuisance (Matt. 19:13-15).
God is protective of his little ones (See Matt. 18:1-6). He has assigned them guardian angels for their special care (vss. 10, 14). God does, however, have certain expectations of children.
Recently, I asked the sweet children of our congregation to think of various qualities that children ought to possess, and for them to use the word “KIDS” as an acronym. They far exceeded my expectations. While there were a few duplicate ideas, I think their insights were amazing.
Here’s some of what they came up with: K = Kind, Kindness; I = Innocent, Inquisitive, Incredible; D = Discipline, Delight, Determined; S = Self-control, Sinless, Sincere, Sacred.
What follows are the qualities that I thought of prior to receiving the children’s input. Kids of the kingdom need to be the following things:
Kind. In a world full of bullies, children within the church need to learn how to be kind and considerate, compassionate, merciful and loving to others. Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Children need to learn to share their toys with others. Be nice to children whom others mistreat. Stick up for the underdog. Be friendly to kids who look or behave different to them or their your friends because they either lack social skills or have a mental disability.
Involved. God expects children to be integrally involved in the life and ministry of the church. This means that their parents need to participate in church work so that their kids learn how important the church is. Parents need to set the right example when it comes to prioritizing their time, resources, and efforts for the sake of God. The powerful story of the boy with the 5 loaves and 2 fish comes to my mind (John 6:1-14). The boy was following Jesus, listening and personally involved. Because of him, one of the greatest and most memorable miracles of Jesus’ ministry was performed—the feeding of the five thousand. Our children can get involved in various church-related activities and service projects.
Disciplined. Parents must appropriately and lovingly discipline their children so that they ultimately learn self-discipline, respect for authority, and obedience to God (Hebrews 12:5-11). Godly discipline produces the fruit of righteousness. Prov. 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Children are taught to honor, respect, and obey their parents in Ephesians 6:1-4 and Colossians 3:20-21.
Servants of God. When God called to the boy Samuel in the tabernacle at night for the third time, Samuel replied, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears” (1 Sam. 3:10). Kids need to learn the responsibility of serving others and need to discover the joy that comes from selfless and humble service in God’s kingdom. Jesus fleshed this out for us in his earthly ministry (Philip. 2:5-8). In a self-absorbed world, let our children learn the meaning of Christian service.
God loves and blesses kids and calls them to love and serve him in return.