Is there any work in the service of the Lord that gives greater joy and produces more glorious fruit than bringing children to Jesus in their tender youth? The disciples did not recognize this fact, because they rebuked those who brought the children to Jesus, since it did not seem worth their while to trouble the Master for the sake of such little children. Jesus describes the relationship of children to the kingdom of God in the following words: “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14). If the kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children in simplicity and humility, then they themselves must also be capable of receiving spiritual blessings. Leading them to Jesus cannot be a pointless nuisance.
How easy it is to underestimate the importance of the conversion of children! A man who had indulged in the lust of the world for years before seeking the Lord and finding forgiveness for his sins gave a testimony of God’s saving grace in a church meeting. He said he had the very greatest cause to thank God for saving him from a life of sin and shame. He had been devoted to drinking and gambling for years, but the Lord had delivered him from all bondage.
In the same meeting, a young sister stood up and said she believed she had the greatest cause to praise the Lord because out of sheer goodness He drew her to Himself before she fell into any grievous sin. And she was right!
Why are people often suspicious or even dismissive of children’s conversions? Are we not often amazed at the spiritual capacity of children? Their conception of divine things is much clearer, their conception of the sinfulness of their hearts much more definite, and their thoughts about spiritual things much deeper than we are usually accustomed to assuming.
Paul gives young Timothy the testimony that he had known the Scriptures from childhood and had recognized the saving power of them from his own experience. That is why Timothy made a good confession in his young years before many witnesses.
Even if our children are not theologians, they have a childlike understanding of spiritual and divine things. Their love for Jesus and their childlike trust in God in their prayers can often be an example to adult Christians of how to trust the Lord Jesus. Therefore, we should pay due attention to children and try to influence them for good. We should try to introduce them to Jesus, and they will soon be touched by His love and come to know Him as their dear Savior.
A little girl asked her mother one day, “How old do I have to be before I can love Jesus?” To the mother’s counter-question, “How old do you have to be before you can love your mother?” the child replied, “Oh, I love you already!” And the mother replied, “So you can love Jesus already.”
Although children have little understanding of the natural sciences, they are full of admiration for a beautiful, colorful butterfly. They delight in the colors of flowers and their fragrance. They jump for joy when they see a rainbow in the sky. And just as a child can delight in the glorious works of creation, so the child can love Jesus without understanding anything of the evidential grounds of the Christian religion. The appeal to the heart of the child in religious matters often achieves a deeper and more lasting success than in the adult.
If we put a larva in a cold place, its development into a perfect insect may be slow. But if we put it in a greenhouse, in a brief time a butterfly will unfold its wings, shimmering in all the bright colors.
It is similar with the spiritual development of our children. Surrounded by a cold, icy atmosphere, many years may pass before they awaken to godliness. In a warm spiritual atmosphere, however, they will be far more receptive to the effects of divine grace, to open their hearts to the love of Jesus, and to develop into a Christian character rich in all the heavenly virtues and fruit of the Holy Spirit.