Sunday, February 14, 2010

Too Small to Ignore

Dr. Wess Stafford is the President of Compassion International and I have been reading his book Too Small to Ignore. Where I thought the complimentary book would be a mini infomercial, it has instead turned into a really, really good read. Def. worth buying if I hadn't have gotten it free!

In addition to accounts of his childhood in the jungles of Africa and a missionary boarding school - in one of his chapters he describes the good, warm, touchy-feeley story of Jesus and the children. And this picture took on a whole new light that I never would have seen before:
Just in case you didn't realize - the story of Jesus telling the children to "come to me" is told in 3 Gospels - Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The setting - Jesus is talking to the religious leaders and his disciples about the legality of divorce and marriage.

In the Gospels, the Greek translation describes the children as "babes" with the same word used in "a babe in swaddling clothes" and also as paidion which means young children. So these were probably children age 6 and under, all cooing, gooing, and waving at our Lord.

So in the middle of this adult conversation where children should be seen and not heard, the little ones must have been getting a little rowdy and the disciples started to chastise. And here is where the story begins to take on a new light:

Do you realize that in Mark 10:14, Mark says that when the little children were pushed aside, Jesus, the creator of the universe, was indignant. Indignant: "angered at something unjust or wrong."

So Jesus got mad.. he didn't just lovingly say, "oh no.... let them come to me for just a moment" as the above painting suggests. He got angry. Could you have just seen him, raising his voice at the disciples, perhaps even yelling, "Let the little children come to me!! Don't you DARE hinder them! My kingdom belongs to such as these!" This instance must have made a large enough impact for 3 of the Gospel writers to include it in their synopsis of His ministry. Enough to stand out as an important moment within a life-time of miracles, parables, and wisdom.

What I also didn't realize until pointed out by Dr. Stafford: How often does the scriptures note that Jesus got mad, really furious, and showed it??
1) when the religious leaders were trying to dare Jesus not to heal the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath
2) this incident with the young children
3) in the Jerusalem temple overrun by corruption and consumerism

And, as we know from scripture, in those times, the cripple, as the man was, would have also been most likely a beggar in abject poverty. So who again, did Jesus get passionately angry on account of??

The poor.
The children.
His church.


Dr. Stafford also points out, as I stated previously, children were not valued in that society. Their purpose was to be "seen and not heard." But how often now, are the world's children "not seen AND not heard." Where are our priorities and would Jesus be indignant about them? Where does the church of today rank in modeling itself after Jesus' values? Are we doing a good job taking up where He left off and working to fight for those he would have fought for? Just something to make you think...


The Beaver Bunch said...

Great post. I think that as a church we often get so caught up in homosexuality, abortion and tithing (hot button issues) that we forget that being a follower of Christ is so much more than the latest political scandal or right/left wing policy.

I totally agree with you. Totally.

SiLa said...

thanks for sharing