Our story today comes from a country in Africa that is 93% Muslim and clearly demonstrates the importance of reaching children with the gospel message and making them a priority like Jesus did.
Missionaries in Senegal
He said that during the time missionaries were in Senegal, he was a young pastor. And they used to go to villages to evangelize people. And parents asked them to preach to their children as they themselves are already were old.
But unfortunately, missionaries did not want him to preach to children. And years later, a man saw him and called him, “Pastor, Do you recognize me? Naturally the Pastor could not recognize him. And he said, “I am now an Imam (Muslim leader).” He shared that he didn’t want to become Imam but rather, a pastor just like him. And he had that desire when they used to come to their village a long time ago (about 30 years ago), but they refused to teach them and focused on their parents. That Imam added, “There are many of us now in Senegal that are Imams and our generation are big men today.” He continued, “It was your fault Pastor.” The pastor cried and shared with me about the importance of ministering to children which has become his primary focus.
The Message of Mark 10
In Mark 10, who stood in the way of children coming to Jesus? Ministry workers—the disciples! Verse 10 reads: People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.”
Bringing Children to Jesus
Parents, pastors, teachers and leaders, we need to bring children to Jesus so he can bless them and they can be blessed. We’ve shared many stories how little ones have a hunger to know, love and serve Jesus but they need opportunity and they need mentors. We need to be advocates for the children in our churches. We need to give them opportunity to serve – there is no greater joy than the inexplicable joy that comes from serving Jesus. And once children experience that, there’s no going back.