Today’s Scripture: Matthew 18:1-6
About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”
2 Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. 3 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. 4 So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
5 “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. 6 But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.
I remember a town we lived in once having a sales tax election – or it may have been a bond election. Either way the funds raised would have helped pay for some new schools. I remember it being very contentious. One of the arguments against the increase came from some of the older residents in the town (and to be honest, in our congregation). They said that their kids were raised and out of the house so why should they be “punished” by higher taxes? There were no benefits to them to have a new school. I remember the issue passed – but it was close.
I have often thought of that election when I read this part of Matthew. “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.” In other words, what we do to and for children we are doing to and for Jesus. There is no room in the Kingdom of God for someone to not take care of and welcome children. If we are going to take being a disciple seriously then we will take the care of children seriously. It’s just that simple.
I am thankful that one point of Westwood’s calling statement is to “Connect with and serve our community and its families.” As a congregation we have made the decision to live out this verse from Matthew and welcome Christ by welcoming children. It’s not going to be easy as we move forward with this ministry. But we have to try. Because in welcoming them, we welcome Christ.
As you think about the children in your life today – as you pray for them even this moment – pray also for the children of our community and how we can welcome them.
God thank you for the children that you have placed in our lives and in our community. Give us hearts that open up to their presence. Give us the compassion of Jesus to act in their interests and love them with your love.
This Week’s Immerse Passages:
Week 6, Feb 8-14; Matthew
Day 26 pp. 311-324 Mat 1:1-7:28
Day 27 pp. 324-336 Mat 8:1-13:52
Day 28 pp. 337-345 Mat 13:53-18:35
Day 29 pp. 345-358 Mat 19:1-25:46
Day 30 pp. 358-366 Mat 26:1-28:20