Don’t Hinder the Children (Luke 18:16)

James Hassell   -  

When mom’s away, the kids can play! I spent some extra time with my children during this past weekend. We colluded in all sorts of hijinks, including skipping rocks at a nearby pond, overindulging in ice cream, singing loudly in the car, and eating pizza with potato chips. A splendid time was had by all. A few older friends have encouraged me recently to cherish these moments, for they are all too fleeting. This is a wise and important admonition. It is indeed quite true that life passes with astounding speed, whether you’re having fun or not. Perhaps this truth was part of Jesus’ command to let the children come to him.

In the Gospels of both Matthew and Luke, we hear a story about the disciples’ method of holding back kids from interacting with Jesus. The children were basically to be seen and not heard. In a moment of almost certain holy anger, Jesus instructs the disciples, “Don’t hinder the children!” His reason? “The kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” What could Jesus have meant by such a vague sounding statement?

When we see life through the eyes of children, we notice that there is a faithfulness that defies logic. As adults, we are told to be reasonable and rationale about most subjects. Reason indeed helps us a great deal until we make it into an idol. Some of us can even get to a point of believing that our higher faculties of rational thought turn us into something or someone who cannot be questioned. We muse, “I’m the captain of my soul.” Yet, isn’t it something that the children are often more secure in themselves and less anxious than the “reasonable” adult?

The kingdom of God can be clearly seen and experienced by those who become like children, meaning that our faith is not in our brain power but in the One who is all powerful. So, let’s take a page out of Jesus’ playbook. Don’t hinder the kids—or those who are becoming like them—from interacting with Jesus. They are really getting close to the kingdom of God in its richest and fullest sense!