Matthew 18:10–“Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.
In this verse, Jesus is commanding us to not look down on “little ones.” Little ones can be kids or those young in the faith.
The phrase “look down on” is translated in the ESV with the word “despise”. That word seems to carry more weight. I despise things like Pepsi, the Denver Broncos, bad coffee.
Despise is such a strong word. The meaning is to actively insult, and to disregard.
We are not to look down our noses as those we deem to be less than us, kids included.
Kids. Kids can be messy. Kids can be difficult. Kids can be expensive.
I’m thinking of a time recently where one of my boys accidentally fired a Nerf arrow and hit our TV. And ruined it. My first thought was there is no way a Nerf arrow could do that. My second was disbelief. Later that day, my wife told my son how much more important he is than a TV. Years from now, we will tell this story, and the TV would have been trashed by that time anyway.
And I might actually laugh about it. Maybe.
We can’t disregard children, but the other meaning and point Jesus is making is to not disregard young believers, and those who have wandered away from Jesus.
Doing this can be messy. Doing this and helping others in this way can be difficult, and can use all of our resources. But that is what discipleship is. That is what we as followers of Christ are commanded in the Great Commission that we have heard so often.
What is so neat when we take on this challenge and this command is how it stretches and strengthens our relationship with Christ. Helping others and obedience to God can do that to a person!!
Only a disciple can make a disciple. A.W. Tozer
I’ve come to realize that we can stand to learn a lot from kids, and from those young in their relationship with Christ.
Kids have such a faith, and a trust that is untainted by the world.
They also are able to learn and believe God’s Word completely.
As we were leaving Hy Vee the other night, my youngest son, Caleb, noticed that the Powerball Jackpot was $300 million. He mentioned that could change someone’s life. He then went on to say what he would do if he won that money. And the first thing out of his mouth was giving to the church. He asked how much that tithes would be? When I told him $30 million dollars, he was blown away, and exclaimed how that would help a church!!!
Caleb has heard and knows about tithing. Even with his imaginary money, he knew the first place to give was to church.
Childlike faith. Childlike trust. Childlike obedience.
We can all grow in those areas. Many times the older we get, the more we get tainted by life, and we lose that ability.
Discipling and helping someone grow in their relationship with Christ can help you grow in these areas.
It doesn’t mean it’s always easy.
Think of the self-control which training children demands. Think of the examples that must be set. Think of the practical wisdom that must be imparted.
Think of the perseverance that is needed!!!
If we “despise them” we fail to observe or meet their individual needs. We fail to see the areas they may need growth in. We fail to go after the lost sheep. We fail to disciple. We fail to grow.
I don’t get upset when my children have odd questions or thoughts. No need to overdo it when they fail, like my son and the TV. I had a choice there. But I know my son. And I knew the best way to handle the situation because of that. It truly was an accident.
That is what discipleship is. We are helping and training young believers because we have gotten to know them.
As you go today, begin praying and asking God if there is someone you need to be reaching out to, someone who is young in the faith, or you know has wandered from the Truth they once followed. And let’s not look down on them!!