“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” - Dr. John Trainer.
I came across this quote a few years ago and it struck a chord with me. I am a stay-at-home mom of two boys. My oldest just turned nine, so one might be tempted to think that I have this parenting thing down.
Nope. I still usually feel like I am winging it and sometimes, barely surviving.
Trainer’s quote hits a sensitive place in my heart. A place where I stand guilty and confess that I have so very often looked at my children as distractions.
The truth is, as a busy and control-loving woman, I want to get stuff done. I want the dishes cleaned and the laundry folded (the way I do it) and nicely put away. I want to check my email and respond to that text. I want to check off all the boxes in my pretty little planner. But in doing so, I ignore my God-given job as mom. When I am too distracted with my list of things, I forget to be present with my boys.
Often times I catch myself being frustrated and irritated with the children because they are not allowing me to do what I think I need to get done. Sometimes it's a simple task I wanted to complete, like responding to a text, but also the bigger things - like studying the Bible.
It hit me one morning when I was becoming angry that my boys were interrupting “my” Bible time. Jesus would never do that. Actually, he did the opposite.
In the book of Matthew, the disciples were much like me - trying to send children away. Then Jesus drops this little heart bomb: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
As Jesus followers, are we embracing this attitude toward children? Are we, with open arms, saying “let them come!”
Let’s take it a step further, church, and ask: are we hindering them? This is hard for me. I know I’ve been guilty of hindering my children because I think there is “more important work” to be done.
Jesus says, “for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” The simple minds and hearts of children is what heaven is all about. How truly beautiful is that? It paints an amazing picture. It stands my "get-stuff-done" ideal world on its head. (Jesus is really good at that..)
As our church blessedly grows with children and as we reach out to the children in our neighborhood, I pray we can have the heart of Jesus. I pray that we can look at children like Jesus does. I pray that we see them not as a distraction, but as the kingdom of God. Each one of them is a daughter or son of our Heavenly King.
Furthermore, my hope is that we can see that these children are the future church. They are future disciples and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
So let the children come.