Growing up in church, I’ve often heard people say that children are the church of tomorrow. This viewpoint seemed logical, and I never thought much of it. However, over the past months, several groups of children in my life have shown me a new perspective: children are not the church of tomorrow, but rather the church of today! In Matthew 19:14 (NLV), Jesus states, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” As adults, we think, “Jesus loves kids so much. We’ve got to help them know and experience that love.”
But that is only half of the picture.
Jesus does not only love children, but He also states that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these. Let that sink in a bit… Children have ownership in the Kingdom of Heaven. Owners are not mere by-standers, nor are they on the fringes. They are centrally involved, and they have the capability, responsibility and authority to nurture and care for what is theirs. But unfortunately, adults in the church, myself included, have too often failed to see this truth. We have seen ourselves as the only ones with ownership in the Kingdom. And our children, who Jesus specifically called to serve in this role, often end up on the sidelines.
Over the past few months, I have witnessed what happens when children are invited to be active participants in the Kingdom. Preschoolers and elementary aged children from several churches across the U.S. learned that families in Cruz Blanca, Guatemala needed clean water. With loving hearts, these little ones took on the big challenge of bringing their own coins and bills to church to buy water filters.
This past February, ten water filters were delivered to families in Guatemala, and every single one was purchased by children. While they may not be able to drive a car or apply for a job, these children accomplished an incredible feat: they provided mothers, fathers and children with a resource that will exponentially improve their health. And it doesn’t stop there. As these mothers, fathers and children are healthier, other areas of their lives will advance as well. The children will be able to attend school more regularly. The mothers and fathers will be more productive workers. And above all, the families who received the filters will know they are loved and supported, an intangible benefit that is worth more than one can ever measure.
To every child who made these filters possible, thank you so, so much. Your love is big and wide like Jesus’. And we can’t wait to see how you will keep sharing that love in the months and years to come!