An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”
Luke 9:46–48, ESV
As a pastor that is also a father of six, the verses that speak about children and the call of Christ carry a personal connection. My passion when I entered seminary was youth ministry. My desire was to be a pastor over youth and family ministry. God has a sense of humor. My first congregation was an older congregation with only a few youth. This isn’t uncommon. I don’t think it has been uncommon throughout history. When Jesus brought children in his midst, it was usually with some challenge. Either the disciples were fighting to keep the children from bothering him, or they were focused on something else like, “Who is greater” debates. I know when a child first comes to worship, they are fidgety. It is a weird thing for most kids in the beginning. The music is nothing like they normally listen to, and the actions and flow of a worship service takes people out of normal practices. In our lives, we rarely stand and recite prayers, dialogues, or sing. As a child, however, gets used to the patterns and the flow, you will notice that they will become more and more involved and attentive. In reality, we find the same to be true with people in general when it comes to worship. Children would rather play and watch their shows and, if we’re honest, the same is true with most people. What makes us greater is remembering who is called to be first in our lives. When we place Jesus first, we fully receive Him, and He blesses us. His words become not only things we hear but also what we crave. So, our Lord is calling us to be great by our welcoming others who do not yet know the gift or live in the patterns as they first disturb our peace to receive them as they receive Him.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.