January 20, 2019


Mark 10:13-16

Jesus... was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

—  Mark 10:14

I enjoy my grandchildren very much. They are precocious and sweet and full of energy. They can also be noisy and, as my young grandson says, “cheeky.” They give me the ability to see old things with fresh eyes and to play again. To have marshmallow creations called “amazing” reminds me that sticky hands and eyes full of mischief have something to teach us.

They also tell it like it is. When we were standing at the graveside of one of our children, our four-year-old grandson reminded me that we didn’t need to be sad. His reasoning: We knew Jesus, and so did Aunt Lindsay, and we would see her again in heaven. It was a profound moment.

Jesus knew that when children are invited to the table or any gathering, we lose sophistication and gain wisdom. We ­experience newness of faith and enjoy a conversation that has not been stuffed and stifled with adult assumptions. We may also feel a little uncomfortable because children challenge our thinking. It is easy to push them aside and think they will understand when they are older.

When the disciples pushed children away, Jesus got upset. He invited the children to return and said, “Do not hinder them.” Their deep dependency and trust, not to mention their precious worth, teach us a lot about life in God’s kingdom.

Dear Jesus, thank you for showing us the value of little ones. When we are busy or distracted, remind us that they have lots to teach us. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Beth Fellinger

Pastor Beth Fellinger is a wife, mother, and grandmother who has more than 40 years of experience in pastoral ministry. She and her husband, Barry, have created a missional community in their neighborhood called the Ugly Couch Cafe. From serving coffee at a blue picnic table on their front lawn, to praying with neighbors, to hosting faith gatherings on a weekly basis, the Ugly Couch Cafe has grown—and nothing gives Beth greater joy than introducing people to Jesus.

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