A few weeks ago, my little brother came over for his first sleepover.
He probably won’t remember that day.
He probably won’t remember that he tried marmalade sandwiches because that’s what Paddington loves.
He probably won’t remember making brownies or having a picnic with the dogs or staying up too late listening to stories.
Even if he never remembers the details, I believe it still mattered deeply.
It matters because, one day, I hope he looks back and knows from his earliest memories that he was always welcome in this home.
And that welcome he experienced when he was here was a welcome in the Name of Christ that shows him how he is loved by God.
Last week, I read a post about someone who was handed a card during worship, thanking them for having their child in church, but asking them to leave so that the child did not disturb the other worshippers.
My heart broke for the little ones and their parents, but it also broke for the church and the loss of blessing that they needed.
Welcoming little children matters.
It sets the stage for how they feel the Church accepts them and for how they feel accepted by Christ.Welcoming little children matters. It sets the stage for how they feel the Church accepts them and for how they feel accepted by Christ. Click To Tweet
Jesus said when we welcome these little ones, we welcome Him.
“And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.’” – Mark 9:36-37, ESV
Loving little ones is one of the primary ways we can show we love Jesus. He told us that the way we treat them, is the way we treat Him. When we are annoyed, when we answer sharply, when we refused to be inconvenienced, we reject the Son of God.
They may not remember the details, but little ones remember how we make them feel. And at church above all, they need to know they are loved and wanted.
Children are not just the “Church of Tomorrow,” they are a vital part of the Church today.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. -Psalm 8:2, ESV
We need them in our midst on Sunday mornings. We need them in our homes. And when they are told no, pushed to the side, or quickly and quietly ushered out the back door, they remember.
And Jesus grieves.
We need to embrace these little ones as we would embrace Christ.
What if instead of simply tolerating children until we could reason with them, we modeled for them how to worship and let them model for us the beautiful, childlike-faith that Christ said was necessary to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?What if instead of simply tolerating children until we could reason with them, we modeled for them how to worship and let them model for us the beautiful, childlike-faith that Christ said was necessary to enter the Kingdom of… Click To Tweet
Can we show the little ones in our midst that they matter, both in our homes and in our churches?
Sometimes, hospitality looks grand. Other times, it looks like spontaneously inviting your *almost* 3-year-old brother over for his first “fleepover” and offering your messy house, brownies, Paddington Bear, and lots of love.
Little ones need hospitality too. Let’s not forget them.