Children play an important role in ministry for God. But that is often overlooked. We, as adults, have an opportunity to learn from them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me.” He cared for children and wanted to have a relationship with them. He even told His followers that unless you have the faith of a child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
What is the faith of a child like? Until they have reason not to, children will believe what their parents tell them and follow their instructions, as they still possess a level of trust that most adults have lost. The faith of a child naturally trusts his parents. Smaller children are usually excited when mommy and daddy come home from work and they want to hear what their parents have to say, and spend time with them. Are we excited when we spend time with God?
There are many stories in the Bible that give us insight into the strength of a child’s faithfulness. One of these is the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob. Joseph was sold into slavery as a teenager. Unexpectedly, he didn’t grumble or complain but worked hard and did all that his master required of him. Even as a slave, he became an important official in his rich master’s household. God would eventually reward Joseph for his godly faithfulness that had begun as a child.
The story of David gives us more insight into how children are useful to God. As a teenager David went to the battlefield to visit his brothers and discovered that a giant named Goliath was cursing and disrespecting God. David told the Israelite army and their king that this giant had no right to dishonor God in such a way; and God wanted someone to stand up to Goliath. David’s older brothers gave him a hard time when he criticized the army for not trusting God. The Israelites were scared to face the giant on their own. They failed to recognize and understand that God would be with them in the battle.
When nobody else would, David accepted Goliath’s challenge to a one-on-one battle. With his slingshot and five stones in hand, David went in the battlefield to face Goliath and defeated him. Thankfully, David knew he was not alone; he went to battle with God on his side. God protected David and led him to victory. He was chosen as a teenager to fight for God when no adults would. Afterwards, even as a young man, he led his men into battle with many victories and was honored by becoming part of the royal family.
These stories show us that we need to listen to children as they have a perspective that we might have forgotten. Too often, we adults become hardened and disheartened as we face many different trials and tribulations—the giants of today’s world.
God had recognized the heart of David even before this battle with Goliath. God was looking for a king whose heart was wholly committed to Him. God sent Samuel to find such a young man; and he found him in the young teenager, David. Samuel was instructed by God to anoint David and the Holy Spirit fell upon him. However, even though David was anointed to be the king of Israel, God required him to patiently wait for God’s timing.
Until his time came, David took his rightful place in Israel, not as a king but as the king’s servant. It was his obedience to authority and his trust and faith in God that made the difference. God saw this in David as a young boy. But until he was king, David had a role to play, and he did that by honoring his best friend Jonathan who was son of the king. Even though the king (Saul) made numerous attempts against his life, David never wavered in honoring Saul as the king of Israel. David waited for God’s timing.
So, what can children learn from the stories of the Bible? First, while children are still young and innocent, they need to remember to maintain trust and faith in God. It will anchor them for the rest of their lives.
Children must also learn to follow the instructions of their parents and other adults that God has placed in their lives to lead, teach and help. Sometimes children can even learn what NOT to do by observing what the adults and parents do and don’t do. The Bible says we are to obey our parents, and that parents are not to frustrate the children. In fact, one of the 10 Commandments promises that if we honor our father and mother, we will have a long and successful life.
As parents and children’s ministry leaders, we have the responsibility to give our children proper instructions, encouraging and building their faith. We are to provide them the leadership that they need to move into the ministry that God has chosen for them. Let us never forget that children have a role in ministry, and we need to be prepared to listen.
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