Lesley (Dahlseng) Rieland

Children's Book Author and Christian Blogger

Don’t Just “Let Them Come”, Lead Them!

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Jesus with ChildThere was a point in Jesus’ ministry when parents were bringing their children to Jesus to be blessed. That’s ministry, isn’t it? To bless people? Jesus blessed tens, hundreds, even thousands of people each day. It was nothing out of the ordinary for Him. For some reason, however, the disciples didn’t feel the same way. They began driving away these children. Why? Is it no longer ministry when it’s children? Are they not worth the time or the energy?  Jesus had to correct them, saying: “Let the little children come unto me.” Even more than that, he turned the disciples’ notion of children upside down by adding: “for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16).

I was once very much like those disciples. Perhaps I admired children from afar, but I preferred to keep it that way – from afar. My response to Jesus might have been, “Okay, Jesus, they can go to you; just don’t send them my way.” I don’t mean to say that I disliked children; I simply thought I had better ways to spend my time. After my husband, David, and I were married, I soon realized that my thoughts toward children were not God’s thoughts.

 I didn’t want to change. I didn’t want to conform to Him in this area. But, thankfully, I wanted Him more than I didn’t want change. It’s really quite strange how God can change a person; I might even call it “sneaky”. It’s much like a day-dreamer driving down a familiar road. After a while, the person comes out of their trance and wonders “Whoa, how am I here already?” After giving God the driver’s seat in this area of my life, I wonder the same thing.

 Beginning in the winter of 2002 God directed me to teach Sunday school, something I continued to do for more than a decade.  In 2003, a friend revealed to David and I that his prayers concerning us were that we would consider having children.  Suddenly, I found myself listening to teaching tapes, reading articles, and meditating on Scripture verses concerning God’s view of children. By the time our first daughter was born in 2005, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that children are a BLESSING!

 Being wife and mother is my foremost ministry. I now wonder what on earth the disciples were thinking, driving those children away from Jesus. It is my intent to bring my children to Jesus as soon as possible and as often as possible. I pray they know Jesus NOW, not when their lives are supposedly considered to be more “significant”.

I once read an article about a preacher who returned home from one of his meetings.  His wife asked how the meeting went, and he was happy to answer that two and a half people had accepted Christ.  “Two and a half?” his wife wondered.  Then she smiled and replied (paraphrasing) “Oh, that’s sweet, two adults and one child?”  This was the wrong answer.  What this preacher meant was that 2 children and 1 adult came to Christ.  More than half of the adult’s life had already been spent not honoring God, whereas the two children had nearly their entire lifetimes ahead of them pursuing God’s will.  As my own pastor has said: “Children don’t receive a baby Holy Spirit.”  In other words, God finds children just as significant as adults when He extends to them the same Holy Spirit.  Likewise, we shouldn’t belittle what children can do for the kingdom of God.

Let’s equip our children. At times I must admit that they may teach me just as much as I teach them.  They, too, can be fulfilling the Great Commission in their sphere of influence.  Statistics consistently show that the overwhelming majority of Christians made their commitment to Christ between the ages of 4 and 14.  No wonder Jesus said:  “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Luke 18:17).  Children are not just our future, they have a place in our present.  Their purpose begins now

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Author: Lesley (Dahlseng) Rieland

Children's Book Author and Christian Blogger

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