CrossReads Weekly Devotional: How We Treat the Least of These

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by Precarious Yates

The way people treat children is extremely important to Jesus. There are many teachings he gave on this. In Matthew 18, Jesus addresses the influencers, be they parents or teachers. He says,

6 “… whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” – Matthew 18:6

There are times when Jesus employs hyperbole, but I don’t think that’s what He’s doing here. Later in that chapter, He says,

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 18:10

He loves children. He loves the way children behave and how they learn and receive truths about God. Children aren’t rigid like adults. Stubborn at times, but not rigid. As much as Jesus cherishes children, it’s surprising that many Christians deem children’s ministry as the lowest form of ministry. Sometimes it’s considered babysitting. If we saw children the way Jesus did, we would treat them entirely different. 

How does Jesus treat children? Let’s turn again to Matthew 18:

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them

3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,” – Matthew 18:1-5

Let’s pause on that statement for a moment: whoever receives a child in Jesus’ name receives Jesus. Not just the moms and dads, and not just the children’s pastors, but WHOEVER. 

Jesus saw children when no one else wanted to. In Mark 10, there is this episode in Jesus’ life:

13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.

14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.

15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. – Mark 10:13-16

It’s interesting to note that this occurs, both in Matthew and in Mark, right after Jesus addresses the crowd about divorce. Jesus recognized how much divorce affected children. He recognized this because of how important children are to Him. 

Is the importance of children on your radar? This is definitely on Jesus’ radar. When I ask Jesus what’s on His heart, He usually talks to me about children. What’s the most unreached people group? Children aged 4-14. Over a billion people. And they are so hungry for the Gospel. During your prayer time today, I challenge you to spend some time praying for children you know. These are the ones of whom Jesus said,

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?

13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.

14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. – Matthew 18:10-14

God bless you!

Sarah Smith

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

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