Active Faith

A Gift from the Lord

"Children bring new life, energy and ideas to our communities and church families. A church with no children is a church with no future." by Captain Mark Braye

“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.”

This is how the New Living Translation of the Holy Bible expresses Psalm 127:3. It says clearly and concisely that children are a gift and a reward from God.

This verse is for everyone who holds the Bible dear. We do not have to be parents—children are a part of our church families, our communities, and our world.

It was on July 30, 1880, that Captain John Roberts first began holding Salvation Army meetings for children in Blyth, England. Roberts’ story is told in the biography written by his eldest daughter, Lt. Colonel Ethel B. Rohu entitled “John Roberts: Evangelist.”

A little girl was told there was no room for her in a Sunday night meeting; there was not enough room for the adults who wanted to attend, she was told. She was dismissed. The disappointment on her face was plain to see. It served as a reproach and challenge to Captain Roberts. Roberts began holding meetings exclusively for children and brought this vital ministry to life in The Salvation Army.

Within the text of “John Roberts: Evangelist” is an open letter General William Booth wrote to the children of The Salvation Army, saying:

“Little soldiers, my heart turns to you! How can we have a successful Army and leave the children out? We have been so busy that I am afraid you have been neglected. But we must do better.”

How are we treating these gifts? What are we doing with these rewards? Are we treating these gifts as second and even third-class citizens? Are we wasting these rewards away?

There is a short story recorded in each of the Synoptic Gospels of people bringing their children to Jesus. The disciples turn the children away because they think their Master is too busy. There is no room for them, they’re too noisy and disruptive, they make a mess,  they should be seen and not heard. The disciples are harsh, and unwelcoming. Hearing their reaction, Jesus makes a special effort to welcome the children and their families. He is indignant with His disciples, Scripture tells us.

The word indignant means so much more than being upset or annoyed. It means strong displeasure at something considered unjust, offensive or insulting.

“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.” Jesus Christ, Captain John Roberts and many other servants of God through the years have believed this verse through the years and acted on it. Do we?

Children bring new life, energy and ideas to our communities and church families. A church with no children is a church with no future.

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