by Corrie Cabes
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not turn them away, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.” –Matthew 19:14.
Every time I hear this bible story, I think: “What if Jesus had turned the children away?” Jesus was constantly approached by all sorts of people that were asking all sorts of difficult things from him. They expected miraculous and amazing things from him and he delivered. He must have had quite a crowd surrounding him often. He also must have been tired and spent from the demands of the people. So, when he was approached by children, it wasn’t a surprise that the disciples tried to turn the children away from Jesus so that he could focus on “the important people” who really needed him. But Jesus was an excellent steward. He knew that children had an important place in the kingdom of God. After all, he sought out his own Father in the temple when he was a boy. He even left the safety of his family in a crowded place to come closer to God with the priests and teachers. Those priests and teachers were also very good stewards. They did not turn Jesus away. They even listened to him, a young boy!
As a teacher, I always tried to remind myself to seek the face of Christ in each child. That wasn’t always easy. For the past two years I was a chaplain for over 100 children who came to twice-weekly chapel services at Colleyville Christian School. I was amazed at their faith and conviction. They always had an answer to any question I asked.
Now as the Director of Christian Education at St. Martin’s, I see that my stewardship is centered on developing community within the entire church family, from the youngest fuzzy-headed baby to the grayest of heads. We are all called to be the church, present and future, drawing in people as if we had been expecting them, and preparing a place for them.
I find stewardship in greeting a new family that has brought their child for the very first time to Sunday School, or when I “connect” someone who feels disconnected from the church. I will try to remember that Jesus cared for those small children, who in turn, learned to care for others as good stewards to further the kingdom of God.