13 Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” 16 And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them (Mark 10:13–16, NKJV).
Jesus loves the little children. Their innocence, humble dependence, and eagerness are among the qualities that illustrate the character of all who receive the kingdom of God. We can learn much from this tender scene. (1) Parents should bring their children to Jesus by teaching and leading them to Christ. Those who brought their children to Jesus knew the value of His blessing. Even so, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). Train your children in the ways of the Lord. (2) Like Jesus, we should take time to be with children. They remind us of a simpler time, pure and free from the stresses, anxieties, and troubles of life. Time spent with children invigorates the soul. Children are not in the way, nuisances or unwarranted distractions. (They were not that to Jesus.) Among the tragedies of every abortion is the devaluing of an innocent child’s life. Additionally, abandoning children to an evil world without the presence and blessing of Jesus is a horrifying reality in the lives of far too many children. (3) Never prevent someone from coming to Jesus. Once we grasp the value of His blessing, we will help others seek Him (John 1:41-42, 43-46; Matt. 11:28-30).
When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. (Judges 2:10, NKJV)
It has been said that God has no grandchildren. That is, every generation must hear, learn and come to know the Lord for itself. The faith of parents does not transfer to children by osmosis or by proximity. It happens through deliberate training that is instructive and corrective (Eph. 6:4). Israel was to teach the word of the Lord diligently to their children in order to equip them to be faithful and blessed (Deut. 6:7-13; 11:18-23). Children live what they learn. The secular influences around them are teaching them many things that are against the will and word of God. Your children need consistent teaching from God’s word to help them develop their own faith, so they can choose to serve Jesus and His gospel. And, they need to see you being faithful to Christ and His gospel. Speaking truth to them, but not living the truth before them, will hinder them from choosing to know God and His salvation.
And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4, NKJV)
Fathers have a supreme responsibility of guiding the instruction and rearing of their children. Fatherless homes are not God’s norm, for it is God’s will that fathers lead in educating their sons and daughters in the way of the Lord. God gives sound counsel and command to fathers not to exasperate their children to angry outbursts as they train them. Respect cannot be demanded by the father of his children; it must be earned. That requires treating your children with fairness, honesty and the guiding principles of faith from God’s word of truth. Fathers (and mothers) must live their faith before their children as well as teach it to them. And, when necessary, warnings and corrections are in order to train them to make good and righteous choices (Heb. 12:9-10). Our heavenly Father trains us by His word, as well as through the trials of life (Heb. 12:3-11). Such training is an attribute of the Father’s love for us, His children. Like God, fathers who teach and correct their children are showing love for them, while avoiding provocations to wrath.