They are not usually thought of as being important to the evangelistic ministry, missions or giving in the church. In fact, we usually don't think of children as having any part in the ministry of the church at all. After all, what do children have to offer God (compared to us adults?) Big bank accounts? Material wealth? Vast intellect? Finely honed skills?
John chapter 6 tells of a poor boy in a big crowd who ended up being the source of the food that fed more than 5000 hungry grown-ups who hadn't eaten all day. He had only five barley loaves (rolls, really) and two small fish. Not a very elaborate lunch.
It wasn't much, but to him it was everything he had. He could have withheld it. Perhaps there were even others who had food but were unwilling to part with it.
His motive for giving it is not known. Maybe he did indeed expect Jesus to do something incredible with it. More likely he intended it to go to Jesus in return for his kindness and hard work among the people that day. He gave it all to the Lord and saw a miracle happen. And not only he, but all 5000 saw it as well! His gift was multiplied.
Believing children can be greatly used by God in missions, evangelism, giving and in every area of ministry. Get the children at your church involved in doing real things for the Lord. Don't let anyone despise their youth. Allow them to give what they have to the Lord and be prepared to see miracles happen.
Their prayers are usually short and sweet with a measure of cuteness thrown in. But we must never forget that there is almighty power in the God to whom the believing child prays. He is the same God to whom you and I pray. The prayers of children are to be taken seriously.
Among those praying for Peter when he was miraculously released from prison was a girl named Rhoda. It was the adults at Mary's house that had a hard time believing that God had actually answered their prayer. Does God still use children to pray today?
I was told of a five-year old named David. David's parents had adopted him after having given up hope of having their own children (something they both wanted very badly.) Knowing this, David continually brought the matter up as a prayer request in the class at the Christian school where he, as a believer, was being taught to pray. He asked that they would pray that his mother get pregnant.
The teacher brought this to the attention of David's mother (who happened to be the school nurse) who in turn asked her husband to have a talk with David. His response to her was to let it alone so he could learn that sometimes God answers "no."
Within the year, David's mother was pregnant. After her first baby, she was soon pregnant again! (I guess David hadnít stopped praying.)
This time his mother did sit him down to have a talk with him about all this praying. But David looked up at her and said, "But Mom, you shouldn't be surprised. I asked for four!"
The last I heard, they had only had two. I guess David needed to learn that sometimes God answers, "Enough."
God still uses children to pray. Children love to pray and they believe God's promise to answer. What more could you want? Teach the children to pray and be prepared to see results.
It is common for believing children not only to have a burden for friends, family and even strangers who do not know Christ, but also to express that concern by praying for or witnessing to them. This desire should not be taken lightly but should be encouraged.
Even the young girl who waited on Naaman's wife, when she could have been bitter, said, "If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy."
Just as she could not heal Naaman but pointed him to the one who could, children today who come to Christ have a desire to point others to the One who can make them whole.
One believing child in Frederick has led others, including a teenager, to the Lord right in his own neighborhood. Another young evangelist, a little girl, loves to pass out Gospel tracts even to complete strangers (when her parents are with her.) Seeing many people who needed the Lord Jesus while with her mother visiting in a hospital, she asked for her tracts and went right to work!
We adults need to stimulate and encourage (and even imitate!) their desire bybeing examples ourselves, by making their friend's salvation a matter of prayer during class time and at home, and by continuing to present the Gospel during Bible lesson time so they will see how they, in turn, can clearly present it to others.
Don't discourage your children by simply not teaching them what they need to know in order to be an effective witness.
Thomas' sister, Rita, came to me on the last night of 5-day Club and told me that she too had received the Lord Jesus as her Savior. Perhaps as a result of Thomas' burden and prayer for her.
When you are born again God changes everything. He makes you a member of His family, a new person. He forgives all sins and makes you righteous in His sight. The Holy Spirit becomes a permanent resident in your heart. You are given a part (a spiritual gift to use) in the Body of Christ. You are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. Ephesians 1:3 says that you have been "blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places."
When a child is regenerated is there any less a work of God done in his life? No, he is also at once as much a full-fledged member of the Body of Christ as you and I were when we received Him, with all the rights and responsibilities that come with the position. Even though a child may not be physically, emotionally or intellectually mature, he can still become spiritually mature. God evens calls little children into ministry!
When he "did not yet know the Lord," God (literally) called the "boy Samuel" into the ministry at the very same time that He saved him. (I Samuel 3) I can remember no other time that God called me into the ministry except that since the time I received Christ at age twelve, I could not think of anything that I could do with my life than be in full-time ministry.
God may be calling the children you teach. Are you helping or hindering? The best thing you can do is to be consistent before the children.
Make sure, first, that the child has received Christ before you expect him to give evidence of spiritual growth. Be consistent in your own quiet time to pray for him. Be consistent in having an exciting time of family devotions together in your home. Teach him a respect for God's Word as you memorize scripture together. Parents, make sure that your children are taught sound spiritual truth in Sunday School and church. And don't doubt that God can reveal His specific will to the saved child.
Never forget that God not only can use them, but God is and always will use children for His glory and the furtherance of His kingdom.
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