For many years the youth (children and young adolescents) have not been heard and have felt less worthy. They weren’t always allowed to be used for Christ in the Church and have not always been allowed to partake in different ceremonies, often just seen as pew fillers.* We see the same thing in many cultures and just in general in society today. We see it in households and many different areas. We see them being raped, abused, molested, used as child soldiers, sex slaves, as cheap labour, guinea pigs in the educational system and the list goes on.
What we need to realize is that children and young adolescents are more than just that. They were created by God and are used by God just as much as any adult and sometimes even more. In Biblical times they were often used to teach adults lessons and were often used as examples in the community. We can see that with David and Goliath (1 Samuel chapter 17). He was a child when He stood up against Goliath and later became a king; he made mistakes yet what often used by God. We see it when Isaac was used by God to test Abraham’s love for God (Genesis chapter 22) Abraham was asked to kill his one and only son Isaac on an alter, if Abraham really loved God. Because he was obedient to the Father, Isaac was spared. We see it in the story where Jesus feeds five thousand (Matthew chapter 14, verses 13-21) with the fish and loaves, which a little boy offered up. There are numerous other times in the Bible as well. We even see it when Jesus and the children; He sits them on His lap and blesses them (Matthew chapter 19, verses 13-14). To the disciples the children seemed insignificant and they had rebuked them but to Jesus they were extremely important. God even says that it is far better to go die in the depths of the oceans than to make a child stumble (Matthew chapter 18, verse 6). The importance of the youth is immense and it is something we need to take into consideration in all we do.
Children and the youth are important and they are and should be examples to adults and society. They should not be looked down upon and can be used for great things. They should not be seen as objects in society or in the Church. Many times they are examples of Christ and of the faith we should have. They should be allowed to preach, teach and partake in any other ministry. They should be given more opportunities, they should be heard, they should be seen, they should be allowed the same opportunities we are and shouldn’t be looked down on or frowned upon. They should be allowed to dream and explore Christianity. Their capabilities shouldn’t be doubted because often they are more aware of things we are too blind to see and they are more sensitive to what is going on around them than we give them credit for.
To have children part of our ministries, communities and just society in general should be a privilege, honour and advantage protected and recognised by us not hidden and zipped shut. So let us hear them, allow them equal opportunity and recognise their importance and great significance in our everyday life.
*This is not the case in all churches, please do not misunderstand, but in many churches this is a very true reality; which may not always be their intention but does happen as they start to preach to the adults who pay their salaries and forget about the children.
1 Timothy 4v12-16:
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.