Debra Whittington: Local columnist
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. Matthew 18:1-5
Watching a video at church of a friend¹s mission trip to Thailand recently brought me to a specific conclusion. Children are basically the same no matter what part of the world they are from. There is something special about their enthusiasm and innocent approach to everything they encounter.
In the video, the children were singing. At least most of them were singing. There was a little boy who was having a great time dancing around rather than singing. Behind him was a little girl that was trying to keep him in line with little success. All around us, I heard people chuckling as they watched the children sing. Even though we couldn¹t understand the words they were singing, their actions spoke an international language.
After church, Mark told one of the teenagers in the church that the video reminded him of the boy and his older sister when they were children. He recalled how the two acted very much the same when they were small children. Half a world apart and yet the children were very much alike in their actions.
At lunch that day, we visited with a woman and her husband who attended church in Forrest that morning. She shared how sweet the children were in church during the portion of the service that is mainly for the children although the truths shared are for all ages.
A little girl was asking for prayer for a little puppy that was lost. After the prayer the little girl stated that it was another puppy that was lost and not the one mentioned in the prayer. The lady leading the discussion assured the little girl that God knew which puppy was lost. Just hearing about this little girl warmed my heart because of her love and innocence.
This morning I went to visit my little friends. Two of them are the children of friends of ours. Mark and I are privileged to be included in the major events of their lives including birthdays and holidays. We were even there when the youngest one was born. I can still remember when his dad brought him out to where everyone was waiting to introduce him to family and friends. He was the youngest baby I had ever seen, as he was only about five minutes old at the time.
Back to this morning¹s visit, the older brother had discovered a ladybug in the yard and brought it over to me so I could get a closer look. I was amazed at how carefully he held it so I could get a closer look. Then he went out into the yard so he could get some grass for his new ³pet² while his grandmother tried to persuade him to set it free in the yard. This little boy is always making new discoveries as he explores the world around him.
The stories I could tell about these children and more would fill volumes. Even though Mark and I never had children of our own, we were privileged to take an active role in so many children¹s lives. I always joked that I borrowed friend¹s children, spoiled them and then sent them home. In all seriousness though, I learned much from being a part of these children¹s lives over the year and was truly blessed by them.
Although they are not my own children physically, emotionally I love them as if they were my very own.
Children are a special gift from the Lord and it is so easy to feel love for each and every one of them. In my lifetime I¹ve learned how special they are and how much alike they are despite differences in cultures and what year they were born. It¹s no wonder that Jesus was so fond of the children and I can imagine him spending much time with the little children.
We need to be more like these little children ‹ trusting, loving, humble and full of awe of the world around us.