“And they brought unto him infants, that he would touch them; but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:15-16)
In Mark’s account of this event, we find out that Jesus was “much displeased” with his disciples for trying to hinder little children from coming to Him. The disciples were like many today who fail to understand the importance of time spent with children—their own or other people’s. They are obviously ignorant of their lofty position in the Kingdom of God. Those who work in rescue missions, prisons, or other “adult” ministries, are only mopping up the water; while those who teach and train children are turning off the spigot.
This story, found in three of the Gospels, tells us three things: 1) The children were “brought” to Jesus. Their parents (assuming that’s who brought them) did not say, “I’ll just wait till they’re old enough to decide for themselves before I expose them to religion.” Children need guidance, and that includes Spiritual matters. Obviously, some adult needs to take responsibility for this. 2) These parents did not assume that if they knew Jesus, that would be sufficient for their children. Salvation is neither inherited nor absorbed; it must be experienced individually. 3) Jesus believed in “the personal touch.” No mass evangelism here. Children are masters at reading the message in a touch; and oh, what that touch must have said to them!
I return now to my original thought. Jesus is still displeased with people ho hinder children from coming to Him, or who neglect their Spiritual growth. There are parents who are careful to see that their children are well fed, but think nothing of allowing them to suffer Spiritual malnutrition. By the way, you have noticed I’m sure that I am always careful to differentiate between Holy Spirit matters and mere “spiritualism,” as found in everything from voodoo worship to New Age fantasies, by the use of the upper-case “S,” in the former. There is a vast difference between thinking beyond this present, material world and living under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
You and I should take very seriously the Biblical instruction of children, whether it be our own or others’, in a Sunday School setting, for instance. Remember, these are the ones among us who are the closest to the Kingdom.