“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
~ Mark 9:37
Hi James and Ellen,
A recent study found out that by the time that a kid is nine years old that his or her moral and ethical values are pretty much established. If the results of this study are true, how important to you think that it is for kids your age to be receiving a continual spiritual nourishment of absolute truths? Where do you think is the best place for kids your age to learn absolute truths? A home is absolutely the best classroom for kids your age to learn absolute truths. A dad and ma are the best teachers to teach their kids your age absolute truths. Another good place to learn absolute truths is in a church. A Sunday School teacher should have internalized the critical importance of communicating absolute truths that will firmly underpin the lives of kids your age. Other potentially good teachers are siblings, uncles, aunts, grandpas, grandmas, peers, school teachers, etc. It is a good thing for a kid to have a significant other in his or her life. A significant other is an adult guy or gal who through what he or she says or how he or she acts influences the moral and ethical values of kids your age. Jesus validated how He valued kids when He picked up a little kid as He was telling adult guys and gals who were standing around with Him that if they did not value kids like the little kid who He was holding, that they would find themselves in a very real eternal nightmare called hell where a fire is never put out and where worms do not die. Mark recounts in Mark 9 this very tender moment when Jesus picked up a little kid to use the kid as an example of how much He values kids. Mark’s recounting of this moment includes a very emphatic statement made by Jesus that if any guy or gal causes a kid to compromise an absolute truth by causing the kid – who had made a decision of faith to believe in Him, to sin, that that guy or gal would be totally better off if he or she had been thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his or her neck. A millstone was a large rock that was used 2000 years ago by gals to roll over and crush wheat seeds in order to make wheat flour. Millstones may actually have been used at times to exact judgment on an evil guy or gal by tying a millstone to the neck if the evil guy or gal and then dropping the evil guy or gal over the side of a boat into the sea with the millstone tied to his or her neck in order to . . . verse 37 has Jesus explaining to the adult guys and gals who were standing around him why kids your age are so important to Him, “‘Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”’ Jesus wanted the adult guys and gals who were standing around Him to see Him through the trusting eyes of a kid your age – because if a guy or gal could undeniably believe in Him as being God – as God the Son – which a kid your age could, the guy or gal would accept as absolute truth Jesus as being the incarnate Son of God.
Kids your age have not yet had their life lenses clouded by the biases of guys and gals. Kids your age are in an ongoing process of having their worldviews shaped. Kids your age are influenced by all the sights and sounds that are around them. Kids your age can receive a lifelong inoculation against doing evil things just by the life teachings that they early on see in and learn from genuine, concerned dads, mas, teachers, siblings, uncles, aunts, grandpas, grandmas, peers, teachers, etc. OR kids your age can receive a lifelong infection to do evil things just by the life actions that they early on see in and learn from duplicitous, passive dads, mas, siblings, uncles, aunts, grandpas, grandmas, peers, teachers, etc. Several weeks after your dad was born, your grandmaa and grandpaa had your dad baptized as an infant in the Emmanuel Orthodox Presbyterian Church that is in Wilmington, Delaware. Several weeks after your Aunt Lynn was born, your grandmaa and grandpaa had your Aunt Connie baptized as an infant in the First Christian Reformed Church that is in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The summer that your dad went back to Bolivia to spend the summer with your grandmaa and grandpaa, your grandpaa baptized your dad by immersion in a small river near Concepción, Ñuflo de Chávez. When your Aunt Lynn was going to a church where she and your Uncle Chris were the youth leaders – which was near Plymouth, Michigan, your grandpaa baptized your Aunt Lynn by immersion. Your grandmaa and grandpaa think that it is good thing for a dad and ma to use the venue of a formal dedication service right after a kid is born to them to promise God that they will intentionally do everything that they can to insure that their kid will have the opportunity to know and accept Him – as God the Son – Jesus, as his or her Lord and Savior because of what God – as God the Son did as an incarnate man – whose name was Jesus, on a cross where He ransom His body for his or her sins and to give him or her the gift of the absolute hope of eternal life.
Having influence in the lives of kids your age was important to your grandmaa before and after she married your grandpaa. Your grandmaa helped each summer with the Vacation Bible schools that were offered each year by Emmanuel Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Your grandmaa helped plan and teach in Five Day Clubs when she lived in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Your grandmaa taught young kids your age in a Sunday School class both in Aberdeen and in Wilmington. When your grandpaa led summer teams that went to Bolivia for over seven weeks and then in Guatemala with more summer teams plus short term ministry teams, your grandpaa would always plan happenings with the kids in the communities that teams visited that included playing games, singing, handcraft, skits and an opportunity for kids who came to the happenings to make a decision of faith in Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior. A kid your age who makes a decision of faith by believing in Jesus will often grow up holding to his or her faith.
Mark 9 (604)