Jesus loves the little children

How did David take down Goliath?

“God gave him the courage to do it. Without God, he would have been just a regular kid.”                                                       Robin, 8

“Goliath was calling the Jews names so somebody had to stand up to him. After it was over, Goliath wasn’t calling anybody names no more.”                                                                                   Charles, 9

“It was one of those things you had to do before you could become the king. The other things were, like, hunting animals and having five wives.”                                                                          Meghan, 9

“David probably carried a spare slingshot with him. You can never tell when you get in an accident and sit on your good one.”                                                                               Charles, 9

David Keller collected children’s ideas and opinions about Bible stories in his book, “Just Build the Ark and the Animals will Come.” Children have something a lot of adults have lost – imagination. They can figure things out. Clare was asked what Bible character reminded her most of herself. She thought of Delilah, Samson’s nemesis: “Delilah … I’m good at cutting hair, too.” 8 year-old Robert said, “It sure isn’t Satan. I get in trouble sometimes, but I ain’t that bad!”

For many churches including our own, this is Vacation Bible School week. Most of us have some memory of VBS. Many of us learned Bible stories we still remember. Some of those stories have been flavored by our own childhood interpretations. Roger, age 9, captured his convictions about God: “There is only one God, just like it says on the tablets.”

I am thankful for young people and adults who serve as volunteers during this week. Whatever their task, they have the opportunity to impact the lives of precious children. I have a picture of a little boy on my desk. Underneath is a caption: “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove … but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”

I don’t know who said it, but it makes a lot of sense to me. Think of it this way:

Jesus was surrounded by people who wanted to be near Him, who wanted something from Him. His disciples were conducting crowd control, trying to keep folks from pressing too close. There were children in the crowd. They wanted to be close to Jesus, too. He stopped the efforts of His disciples with these words: “Let the children come to Me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children” (Matthew 19:14).

I don’t think Jesus was describing perfect little creatures. I think He was referring to childlike trust and, yes, innocence and imagination. They felt safe in His company. They knew that He was for real and that He loved them. They were drawn to Him. They wanted to respond to Him.

Jesus was saying to the disciples and to us: Help them find their way to Me.

I hope that happens a great deal this week.

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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