A couple of weeks ago, Pastor Jim, started his series on the Open Arms Project. Of course as the children's director I have been looking forward to the messages with great anticipation. Anything that has to do with children...I'm in!! So as he started two weeks ago I was thinking about the verse he is centering the messages on. I was studying this verse and decided to look in another translation and I loved the way that the message put it.
The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.
"Don't ever get between them and me" Jesus was warning the disciples and us that we should never prevent a child from coming to Him, truly coming to Him. You might say "of course not, we would never do that!" I believe that sometimes, however well intended, we do that exact thing. We (or religion) stand in the way. We tell children all the rules and regulations, all the do's and don'ts all the laws and all the consequences of breaking those laws but sometimes we forget the most important lesson. If we fail to teach children the very thing that Jesus was trying to teach the disciples then we are STANDING in the WAY. Kids need to know that above all the rules and all the knowledge it is simply the relationship that they have with Jesus that is the most important.
As a child, I was taught rule after rule after rule in the faith that I was raised in. I learned the basics and I certainly learned the consequences of sin.
Someone, or maybe it was a lot of "someones" and their rules stood in the WAY of my relationship with Jesus. You might say I was "hindered" from coming to Jesus. Then at the moment I needed that relationship the most (I'll get to that in a later blog) all I had to fall back on was the rules. The rules told me that if you break them, you are destined for Hell. The rules told me that if you break them their is condemnation. The rules told me that if you break them their is no redemption. You see I had the rules down, I just didn't have the relationship. Because the relationship with an amazing loving forgiving God would have told me that nothing I could do could keep Him from loving me. NOTHING!
Something was standing in the Way. RULES!! Thank you God, for breaking me free of the rules.
I guess I should say that rules are not bad, in fact they are good. They are there for our own good. But let's be honest, they will be broken at some point by all of us. So the bottom line is.....Rules without Relationship are nothing but a waste of paper.
I wish I would have understood this verse as a child, I didn't and it almost cost me eternity.........Because of this I will now make very sure that every child that I have a opportunity to teach will know, really know that Jesus wants a relationship with them. Whether they are 1 or 100. Don't get in the WAY of that.
Jesus answered, I am the WAY and the truth and the life, NO ONE comes to the Father except through me.