Monday, August 29, 2011

Too Small to Ignore - Chapter 12

more thoughts from Sarah....


I shared a few days ago some of the key messages that moved me about Chapter 8, The Silence of the Lambs, of Wess Stafford’s Too Small to Ignore. I was deeply impressed by the passion inspired by Wess’s personal experiences growing up as a missionary kid on the Ivory Coast. Many of these experiences were deeply tragic and painful, many were joyful and inspiring; but all of them demonstrate the power of personal experience.

I believe God uses our personal story, our experiences, to start a fire in our hearts for the work He has for us. In Wess’s case, this was a passion for being an advocate for children. However, Chapter 12, “The Children’s Champion: A Righteous Rage,” uses the words of Jesus himself to elevate the cause of “the least of these” beyond one man’s personal experience.

Quoting from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, this chapter discusses the times that Jesus spoke of the importance of children and the spiritual example they set for all of us (Matthew 18, 19:14, & 21; Luke 9; and Mark 9 & 10).

It’s important to remember that Jesus had a very important job to do here on earth in a very short period of time. He had a life-changing gospel to preach and demonstrate to His people and, perhaps more importantly, to inject deeply into the hearts of His chosen disciples. God took thousands of years to demonstrate his Old Covenant with His people; Jesus had to establish the New Covenant in a mere three. Not only that, He had to combat years of religious hypocrisy and corruption.

I say this so that you can realize how valuable Jesus’ time was. Yet he repeatedly interrupted supposed “adult” conversations about theology, morality, and spirituality to teach about the importance of a childlike spirit, to admonish the people to care for and protect children and, perhaps most importantly of all, to demonstrate his deep love for children by spending time with them.

This is sadly a striking contrast to how we interact with children as a culture and as a church. If you ask any church leadership team or pastor one of the most difficult areas to raise volunteer support, I have no doubt children’s ministry would be in the top 3. Those Jesus considered spiritual role models we’ve shunted sideways into Sunday school rooms and promptly forgotten about. Moreover we’ve gone directly against Jesus’ teaching by looking down on them (page 206), valuing them for what they will be someday not what they are today.

We call children our Future when the reality is they are our Present.

We are inundated today with Causes: feed the hungry, support the arts, protect the environment; all very important causes. But, as Christians, before we consider child advocacy just “one of many” ministry needs, we should look hard at the example of Jesus given in His word.

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