“On Your Mark”
Self Forgetfulness (Chapter 9 Verse 33-37)
Still with children (vv36-37), there is another way in which we segregate our children, and that is when it comes to prayer meetings and such. Children should be encouraged as often as possible to come to prayer meetings, and they certainly ought to be present in family prayer meetings. Praying, for Christians, is the most natural thing possible, and so it should be for our children. But it is a fact they will be no more spiritual than the family, the Church they grow up in. Their salvation of course is in the hands of a sovereign Lord, not ours. There is one more thing, I think the Church is guilty of creating a dichotomy, you know, young people are really special. And they must not be expected to meet with old fogies, stuffy missionary and prayer meetings. Stuff and nonsense! Our prayer meetings and our missionary meetings are dying on their feet because of that very fact. Yes, the young people need to meet with their own age group etc., but not to the detriment of the Church (which consists of all ages), and not to the detriment of the children God has entrusted to us. They should be welcome in all our activities.
But of course Jesus intent is to provide an illustration of the child-likeness a believer has to attain in order to serve others well in the Church. Such service Jesus declares is tantamount to being done for, and to him, and even to his Father, the one who sent him (Matthew 25.40). It is a reminder to us that Jesus is never alone, always with his Father, the one who commissioned him, working together, harmoniously, undivided in purpose. And that purpose is of course to provide a redemption that will render us useful servants in his kingdom. The fruit of our being justified through faith is an issue of service, a place in the Church, glorious new creatures, and our works make that fact evident (Ephesians 2.10; James 2.14-26), or should. Even ministering to a little child, whether in Church, in Sunday School, such service is exalted, elevated to greatness. Because it ministers to Jesus and the Father, you cannot reach any higher than that in Christian or any other service. Unless we work to relieve the needs of God’s family, the least of them, and to offer them help and assistance, there is not one particle of true conversion in us. You want to serve God? Then forget yourself. That is the first step forward. And the second one is, get busy in the Church, does someone need your help, a visit maybe?
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)