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Jesus' unexpected deep interest in children

June 1, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Mark 10:13-16

13 People were bringing children to Jesus so that he would bless them. But the disciples scolded them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he grew angry and said to them, “Allow the children to come to me. Don’t forbid them, because God’s kingdom belongs to people like these children. 15 I assure you that whoever doesn’t welcome God’s kingdom like a child will never enter it.” 16 Then he hugged the children and blessed them.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Jesus overriding his disciples and inviting children to come to him spoke volumes to those who were bringing their children for a blessing, a traditional Jewish act. What we have to know is that first-century culture did not value children much. “Children, along with women, old men, and slaves, were viewed as physically weak burdens on society who had little value to the wider life of the community.” * Jesus regularly uplifted the marginalized and corrected those who thought too highly of themselves.

  • It’s easy to overlook the fact that one of the greatest ways we leave a legacy is “by the love we show.” When you were a child, did your parents or other adults lovingly bring you to Jesus for his blessing and guidance for life? If you are a parent, grandparent or have another connection with one or more children, how can you bring them to Jesus so that he can bless them with God’s love in addition to your love?
  • Loving children takes more than cute photos and fuzzy emotions. “Children are more treasured these days, but caring for children often isn’t valued. Child-care workers are frequently poorly paid and the work is often considered a low-status profession. Parents who leave the workforce to care for children… lose income but sometimes even more: a sense of identity, a relationship network, and even a feeling of worth. What if we valued caring for children the way Jesus did?” **
Prayer

Lord God, sustain in me the childlike trust and wisdom to always value the eternal treasure you offer. And give me the adult wisdom to value all those who care for and teach the children you cherish. Amen.

GPS Insights

Ginny Howell

Ginny Howell

Ginny Howell serves as the Worship Experience Director for Resurrection, leading the church’s efforts to provide radical hospitality and an excellent worship experience across all of our locations. She’s a mom to three, g-momma to one sweet little boy, and shares much of her time with her closest companion, a rescued Pit Bull named Lola.

Jesus hugged the children and blessed them, and I am grateful for the role models who demonstrated the same for me. When I think about people whose legacy has impacted my life, I am extremely grateful that there are too many to name in a short reflection blog post. To be able to scroll through name after name in my head is a precious gift. I’ll tell you a little about one of those people today.

I was invited at a young age to begin student teaching in my gymnastics classes. It wasn’t something I sought out, but someone noticed I might have a gift for teaching, or at minimum, be helpful in corralling little ones as they tried to learn their cartwheels. This teacher took me under her wing and spent time helping me learn while I was helping others learn. I looked much older than I actually was, otherwise, parents might have questioned having an 11-year-old leading the line of back walkovers and back handsprings.

Over the next few years, I spent more time with her than I did anyone else, really. She remembered my birthday, encouraged me to do my homework and invited me to participate in her wedding. When I graduated from high school, she gave me a gift I still have to this day. It is a framed drawing with small flowers with little happy faces that says, “Praise the children and they will blossom.”

She went on to pursue different professional endeavors. I eventually took over teaching the classes and grew the program beyond the space we’d started in. This was my job for the next 10 years, though I lost touch with her shortly after I finished high school. Together we coached hundreds of kids, and after she moved on, I coached hundreds more. Every child I ever coached was impacted by her legacy and the love she’d instilled in me for children and for helping them live into their potential.

Last Sunday morning, I was surprised to see the mother of one of our former students enter the 7:30 a.m. worship service in the Wesley Chapel at our Leawood location. She told me her grandchild was being baptized at that service. I was excited to then see her daughter who I remembered as a sweet and creative nine-year-old girl who liked to tie her t-shirt on her hip and wear funky ribbons in her hair.  I was delighted to hug this poised, beautiful young mom of three who remembers me as “Miss Ginny.”

Last night as it rained outside, my grandson and I played on the indoor soccer field at the gym–a consolation prize since we couldn’t go outside to swim. His new favorite thing is showing off his cartwheel that we’ve been working on for a little while. He’s happy to whip it out at the grocery store, in the doctor’s office or in the backyard to entertain our dog. Mid-kick, he shifted his attention from the soccer ball, put his foot out and hands up and said, “Watch me!”

The most glorious three-year-old boy cartwheel ever performed elicited cheers from his g-momma, and both of us were beaming. Really–that’s what it’s all about, loving the little ones.

© 2022 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* From https://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1-300/jesus-loved-children-11629553.html.
** Karen Chakoian, study note on “Childcare” in The CEB Women’s Bible. Nashville: Common English Bible, 2016, p. 1241.