S40P4 – To raise a child: Christ-like welcome

Mark 9:35-37

Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and a servant of all.”  Taking a child, He set him before them; and taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives and welcomes one child such as this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives not Me, but Him who sent Me.”

Several years ago I watched a television show with a rather novel premise. People of great wealth would disguise themselves as impoverished and be placed in a certain setting. Typically, they would be connected with a charity of some type but not divulge any details about their finances. Through their work there, they would begin to see what these organizations lacked in terms of resources to carry out their work. The hope was that these people who no one knew were wealthy would be treated no differently in these environments despite their presumed poverty. Seeing how well they were treated when no one expected anything in return from them, they then would reveal who they were and make some type of financial gift to the organizations that served them simply out of a desire to serve.

These secret millionaires are like the children we encounter in our lives. We see them just as children, and we will respond in a certain way. Some will take advantage of the little ones who do not have the strength or wisdom to fend for themselves. Others will take compassion on the little ones and shield and protect them. The reality is, the way we treat children is not simply a reflection of our attitude toward children. This scripture indicates that welcoming the small and vulnerable with open arms in the name of Jesus Christ is the same to God as welcoming him with open arms. The way we treat children in our lives is a reflection of our attitude toward God. When we treat a child well, we hear our Father in heaven proclaim that we treated him well by doing this. We may not think that we are serving God, but we certainly are.

When we serve the children of this world in the name of Jesus, which means in a holy and loving manner, this is an act of service to God. God presents the children to us and asks us not how we would like to serve them but how we would like to serve him. When we encounter children in our lives, whether they are our own or simply entrusted to us for a time, or even if they are strangers to us, we are instructed to treat them with the love of Jesus Christ. Not only that, we are to welcome them. This means that we make ourselves available to care for those who have no one to care for them. That is our act of service to our Father in heaven. Father, give us hearts that desire to welcome all children with the love of Jesus Christ, and remind us of the value of this service to You.