The Preacher Says....  
  Through the Eyes of a Child  
  Mark 9. 30 – 41

Over the years Christmas has become very much a time for children. A respite from the reality of school and homework. After four full days of Thanksgiving recess, just a month later they can enjoy ten or more days of freedom. But should this time of year be relegated to childhood? Does this fact displace the direction this holiday deserves from us grown-ups? After all, children are often perplexing and perverse little creatures–saints or criminals. They often reflect this paradox. On one hand, Solomon says that folly is bound up in the heart of a child (Prov 22. 15), continuing with the thought that a good spanking is helpful. He says flatly that childhood and youth are vanity (Eccles 11. 20); they think the world revolves around them. (Anything new under the sun?) We’re admonished by Paul to put away childish things (Cor 13. 11), in other words, to grow up. On the other hand, Jesus said that unless you become as little children, you will never enter the kingdom of God (Matt 18. 2). He called the children of God ‘peacemakers’, and said, "Let the children come unto me," (Matt 19. 14), for of such is the kingdom of heaven". He viewed the child as a type of the genuine believer–dependent and trusting.

Now think of children in a different way. Who is the smartest person you know well? I submit that it’s your young child. Who but a child can learn a foreign language in a year? Swing a bat? Or a golf club? Or learn to play a musical instrument much faster that you ever did? They soak up information like a blotter. And who knows you better than anyone else in the world, even better than your spouse or companion? Your child. Why? In the interest of getting along you have entered into a conspiracy of conceits and mutual self deception with your family and friends, but face it, your child’s vision of you is sharper than a two edged sword–and penetrating to the bone and marrow.

Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks upon the heart. God sees you as a child would. Is this difficult for you to believe? Well, think of it this way. God sees you through the eyes of a child–unfiltered. And what does a child see? He may often see actions or words that confuse and hurt him. But the child, more often than not, will make allowances and forgive you. Such is the forgiveness of God, bought for us by Christ and his sacrifice.

If your child is smarter now then you are, what can you teach him? You can teach him love. Your child can see your love for him, but that’s not enough to teach him. Your child can observe all the good things you do for others, but is that enough? Love, generosity, yes. But the most overriding is the wisdom that comes from your faith, the beliefs about which you have made a choice. These are your teaching tools. So teach him wisdom along with your examples of love and generosity. Impart to him words of wisdom by which he can live his life. Simply put, wisdom is the ability and discipline to make right choices, and above all to remember his creator early in life. This is the most meaningful gift he will ever receive from you. Teach your child to embrace the one way–and when he is old he will not depart from it, so we’re told.

It’s noteworthy and significant that in Isaiah’s description (ch. 11) of the coming kingdom of God–the promised peaceable kingdom, a changed world–that it is a little child that will lead the saved. All fear is gone, for at that time they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain–for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord.