Maureen McQuillan reflects…
Doubtlessly everyone who discovered Jesus, the babe of Bethlehem, was overwhelmed at the time and wondered in their hearts how his life, his future would develop as he grew up and what would happen to the child.
Certainly his mother Mary, and her husband Joseph, wondered some years later what had happened when they couldn’t find him one Passover.
Luke 2:46-47 tells us that they eventually ‘found him in the temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. The teachers were all quite taken with him, impressed with the sharpness of his answers.’
Although understandable, Joseph and Mary had a different attitude unfortunately: ‘His parents were not impressed; they were upset and hurt’ to which the young boy responded, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I had to be here, dealing with the things of my Father?” But ‘they had no idea what he was talking about’ (verses 48-50).
Parenting is indeed an awesome responsibility. Every Christian parent needs the Holy Spirit’s help, counsel and wisdom. We need to ensure that we regularly encourage our children in the things of God, to develop their own personal relationship with him. To know that Jesus has a great plan for them, that they are so important to him. We need to see the potential in them not only for life itself but for kingdom roles as heavenly king’s kids.
Jesus himself understood the importance of treating children well. Mark 9:36-37 records: ‘He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me – God who sent me.”’
The following chapter reveals that adults understood what he was teaching, even if his disciples still hadn’t: ‘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 centre of life in the kingdom.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them’ (Mark 10:13-14, 16).
Strong language – ‘Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very centre of life in the kingdom!’ As adults it’s our duty to see the kingdom potential in our children right from an early age.
Seeing kids’ potential in Christ
Kids are amazing really, as scripture infers – a great gift from God! We live in exciting times when there are so many opportunities for Christian kids to be centre-stage – not for some talent show (although if they get such a chance, let them go for it!) – but for Jesus.
Adults, especially ministers, need to see their potential in Christ and encourage them in every way we can, not hold them back just because some would consider them too young to understand or to be responsible.
Ministering around different churches, as Robert and I do, it’s a delight to observe how some pastors encourage young kids to share in the meeting, especially if they have a good singing voice. Recently at one particular church of middle-eastern origins, it was a joy to see how a young lad we’d prophesied over, a few years ago when we first heard him sing, is now a great young man exercising his platform potential.
It’s a delight to find parents, like those mentioned in the scripture above, bringing their children of a young age up to us for a blessing at altar time. What a joy it is to seek God’s favour and protection on these little lives and a Holy Spirit prophetic word in respect of their future.
And parents and pastors’ desire to see God bless children and youth and use them in the kingdom.
Grandchildren too should be included
Bonnie-Jane Phillips, our granddaughter, is our delight and a typical example of how a child embraced by Jesus and encouraged by adults can make a difference.
As a little girl she would get caught up in meaningful church worship, leave her seat and dance in the aisle getting closer and closer to the front. I remember well how one young pastor leading the worship in a church we were visiting observed her doing this. Smilingly he did not discourage her but suggested that everyone should be so free in God as she obviously was.
As the years went by we would take Bonnie-Jane with us when we went ministering and encourage her to pray over people. Her heart was open and even as a young child her simple prayers were sincere, meaningful and heard by God. The Holy Spirit would flow through her and touch people in some wonderful ways.
I remember well one occasion as she sat at a table with us, she laid hands on people on either side and prayed. Of course Bonnie-Jane was only a child and didn’t know the scriptures about the power of the Holy Spirit – she just followed our examples and believed but that something good would happen. And it did!
The anointing fell on people and they were deeply touched. A number under the Spirit slid to the floor! And this was no ‘big time preacher’ – just a little kid caring for people with needs.
Today Bonnie-Jane is a professional carer loved and welcomed by many who recognise her caring heart and abilities. That’s her secular career. Church-wise she has her own young adults group that she wisely leads.
Just recently she phoned to share her latest – what she called ‘an awesome God-experience.’
Trusting the Spirit
Bonnie-Jane had been praying about her future and God brought a young Christian Iranian new to Australia into her life. As Mahdi’s main language is Farsi, she assisted him with English and encouraged him to do the Alpha Course at a local Baptist church with other Iranians. On completion he invited Bonnie-Jane to an enjoyable Persian dinner.
Afterwards the group prayed in their own language and, of course, Bonnie-Jane didn’t know what the ever-so-earnest prayers were all about.
Then – an immediate challenge to her – she was asked to pray for the group. But she took a deep breath, relied on the Holy Spirit and prayed from her heart. Then she realised that everyone was crying and thought she’d said something offensive!
Mahdi smiled and said, ‘No offence…you just prayed in English what they’d been praying so seriously for in Farsi! They’re thrilled and now a number would like you to pray for healing for them.’
Bonnie-Jane’s second challenge followed as she found herself led to pray for different sicknesses that people weren’t telling her about due to their limited English. A night of blessing for those people and a fresh encouraging experience for our granddaughter that inspired her to move ahead serving the Lord.
Wise seniors see Jesus’ potential in kids
Back to other aspects of Jesus’ early life … Luke 2:25-38 relates how ‘seniors’ Simeon and Anna with God’s direction saw the potential even in that little babe and spoke praise and prophecy over him.
Father God had amazing plans for Jesus and was confident that he would fulfil them with the Spirit’s anointing (Acts 2:38). Similarly Jesus sees in our kids potential that sometimes parents, pastors and teachers and even the children themselves don’t.
I encourage every adult, especially parents and grandparents, to see our children as the very centre of the kingdom – to delight in helping them to know Jesus as Saviour, Lord and their greatest friend. And to encourage them to dedicate their talents and abilities to his service as they follow him.
May we be as Simeon and Anna of old were; and as Jesus did, think highly of all kids.
Maureen McQuillan is a gifted communicator ministering practically and prophetically. She is contactable on 0411 615 855, email: lifefocusministries AT gmail.com