Pay Attention to the Children

blog-post-pay-attention-to-the-children2605623669_8e287b3decWhen my mother could see that I was seriously heading toward becoming an ordained minister, she had only one word of advice for me. She said, “Don, be sure to pay attention to the children.”

My mother was an immigrant from northern England to the rolling prairies of Saskatchewan. She and my father had homesteaded there soon after the turn of the twentieth century. She had had a sixth grade education back in Lancashire and beyond that, her cultural opportunities both there and in Canada had been sparse. But she was a godly woman with good instincts about life.

Were her instincts in this case to be trusted? After all, leading a local church today is a complex assignment, even for modest-sized churches. Sundays with their extra duties seem to come at you about every three days. And there are seemingly endless duties to perform in the interim. It’s easy to become distracted.

In the last of three churches we served, one whole end of the new Christian education building was equipped to care for the little ones. There was the crib room for infants, the middle one for the toddlers, and the larger room for the care of three-year-olds. Often, before entering the sanctuary to lead the second Sunday morning service, I would go into the toddlers room, sit on the floor, and spend a few minutes with the toddlers. This was good for them and good for me. My mother’s advice was not hard for me to take.

When Jesus’ disciples tried to shoo away the children and their parents because they thought the Lord was too busy for them, they were rebuked for their actions. “Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said, “and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16). And after his resurrection, in giving Simon Peter his final assignment, he said, “feed my lambs” (John 21:15).

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