(Red-letter portions of the New Testament)

Matthew 19:14, "Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Children are starting school this week. We see them laughing and running on the playground with their friends, some are teary-eyed as their parents drop them off for school. Their hearts are tender.

Jesus raised the status of children in the ancient world, when he said, "Let them come to me and do not hinder the." To some, children are just in the way as they engage in more adult pursuits. They don't value time spent encouraging children.

Jesus said that the angels of little children have a special place, "always beholding the face of His Father in Heaven." Children are so special to God that Jesus said "if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for that person if a millstone was tied around his neck and he was thrown into the sea."

We have a responsibility to appreciate the faith of a little child who believes in Jesus and to hold it precious. Anything we do to diminish that faith or shatter that faith in Jesus is an offense God does not take lightly.

As children go to school this fall to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic, and how to treat others as we want to be treated (words of Jesus by the way), it is our responsibility to also encourage their faith in Jesus.

Parents, babysitters, teachers, and other adults in their lives have a responsibility, according to Jesus, to encourage faith in Him. Teach them to sing "Jesus Loves Me." Teach them to say prayers and give them a Bible to carry, even if they can't read yet. Show them that love comes from God and remind them that God loves them.

We either increase their faith or we diminish it. If we diminish the faith of a child, or worse, lead them astray, then its time for us to get fitted for a millstone.

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