Matters of Faith: Bring Them!

“Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭19:13-14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The most vulnerable people in any society are the elderly and the children. Many times the elderly are not able to care for themselves, but children must always be cared for.

In the text, unidentified persons bring children to Jesus for Him to pray for, and to put His hands on them, that is, to bless them. Those unidentified persons felt that these children would be benefited by an encounter with Jesus, so they prepared and bought them.

If you didn’t notice, it was those who were closest to Jesus, those who knew Him and His teachings best, those who spent more time with Him than anyone else, those who saw Him perform miracle after miracle, that rebuked those unidentified persons. According to Webster’s Dictionary, to rebuke is to criticize sharply, to turn back or keep down. Can you imagine those disciples of Christ criticizing and turning back those unknown persons who were bringing vulnerable children to the One who had sat a child in their midst and said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven?” (Matthew 18:3) Sometimes, those who know Him best are less inclusive then those who don’t.

It is wonderful that we still have individuals among us who take on the arduous process of equipping our children for a better life. They are not always those who walk closest to the Lord, but they do understand the need to put children in a position to be blessed. The Renaissance Youth Center located in the Bronx, NY does just that. Their mission is to ”empower at-risk inner city youth to fully maximize their potential as productive and responsible members of society, by offering dynamic, team-building education, music, and sports programs, while instilling the importance of building strong communities.”

What intrigues me about Renaissance is not just that these children share their skills and talents at places like Yankee Stadium, are active participants on precinct community councils, serve as community advocates, receive people like Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomeyor, but they invite people like me, ie., preachers, to pray for and to bless them.

It’s encouraging to me that unidentified individuals are still bringing children to Jesus; that they still love and care enough about them to help them to maximize their potential as well as helping them to get to know the source of their potential. The unidentified person at Renaissance is not anonymous. His name is Brevin Harris and he does what many followers of Christ do not; he prepares the children and brings them. When the children come, we’d better make sure we’re not as unreceptive as the disciples were. We must receive them with the joy of Jesus “because the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (GNT)

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting, host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Monday’s 8:00 – 10:00 PM (626-226-1448), and author of Matters of Faith: The Book.

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