Good Morning! Today, I will be speaking on the characteristics of the heart of a child. In Matt. 6:25-34, it says “…..”
I teach at an elementary school to grades K-4 or ages 4-11. I’m very blessed to have a job where I work with children. They do some really funny things and think very differently about the world. Christ had a lot to say about children and the way they are. He says, in Mark 10, that the kingdom of God belongs to them. What are the characteristics Christ attributes to children?
Being a teacher of young children, I’ve been able to observe through my own teaching and through assisting the art teacher. This past school year, I observed four different children’s activities that touched my heart and brought to my mind how God wants us to become like little children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.
I. Abbie, helping Jonathon
I help the art teacher in a number of ways. This past school year, I sat with a student named Jonathon. Jonathon was extraordinary and I was to help him find the right supplies and was to guide him as he did the art projects.
A girl named Abbie sat across the table from Jonathon. She was about six years old and she made me laugh every day. She would choose Jonathan’s crayons for him and get out his art supplies. No one asked Abbie to do this. She seemed to sense that Jonathon needed her assistance and so she did it willingly, gently, patiently and caringly.
The characteristic of the heart of a child I learned from Abbie was willingness to help those who are weaker. See Romans 14:1 and Matt. 25:35-36.
II. Suzanne and the music
I use many different techniques to teach my students an appreciation for music. One activity I developed was a team race. The students lined up in two lines with a big notepad on an easel in front of each line. I had cards with musical symbols on them. Two students from each team would approach the notepads. I would flip the card so they could see the symbols. They would then try to write the rhythmic symbols just as it was on the card. The first student to finish correctly won a point for their team.
Suzanne, a student in one of my classes, was participating in this race one day. She approached the notepad uncertainly. She wasn’t sure, exactly, what was expected. I flipped the card and the other student began to write like crazy. Suzanne fumbled, tried to copy the other student and ultimately lost the point. When the game was finished, one of Suzanne’s friends came to me and said, “Suzanne is upset and crying!” Sure enough! Suzanne was sitting at a table in the corner, crying her eyes out. I asked her friend, “What is wrong?” Her friend thought Suzanne didn’t understand the game and was sad because she lost the point for her team. I asked, “What can we do to make Suzanne feel better?” Her friend felt it would be good to give her another chance. So, I asked Suzanne to come to the notepad for a second chance. The only catch was she had to go against me. The whole class was supporting her. Her friend flipped the card and we began to write. I made sure Suzanne finished just ahead of me. When the class saw that Suzanne had beaten Mr. Middleton, they broke out in cheers and surrounded Suzanne, congratulating her on her amazing feat. When the bell rang and the class was dismissed, Suzanne came and threw her arms around me and said, “Thank you, Mr. Middleton!” The characteristic of the heart of a child I learned from Suzanne was genuine thankfulness. Through Suzanne’s classmates, I saw love, compassion and gentleness. For love, see Matt. 22:39 and Jn. 13:35. For compassion, see Eph. 4:32 and Eph. 5:2.
III. Cyler, jumping and leaping
My next story is not from teaching, but from my experience being an uncle. I have a niece and nephew and when the boy came along, the whole family was in for a ride. Cyler is two years old. He’s rambunctious and in the middle of everything. When he was quite young, I remember, he would just run off into the pool. It didn’t matter if it was deep. His Uncle Nick would catch him! Now that he is older, he loves to jump off the stage at the front of the church. He takes a flying leap in my general direction and knows that Uncle Nick will be right there.
From Cyler, I witness trusting before the unknown. See Ps. 56:3-4.
This last example was witnessed by me right here in Strasbourg. This past week, Pamela and I went to visit Alex, Mavis and Caleb. Pamela was holding Caleb and he began to squirm and fuss. Mavis came over to Pamela and gently picked Caleb up from her arms. Immediately, Caleb became calm.
The characteristic of the heart of a child that I saw in Caleb was contentment in the arms of the one who loves him. See Matt. 6:25-34 and Heb. 13:5-6.
I am the most blessed because I get to witness how God wants me to be. A child. These four stories are lessons for me. If you ever wonder what God wants from you, watch a child. Aren’t we blessed to have Caleb here as a constant reminder of how to get to heaven?
Now the question is, when do we lose having a heart of a child? Parents, how do you keep your child from losing this most important characteristic? See Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
I am not a parent. But when I become a father, if God wills it, this is the way I will teach them. When they wake up I’ll talk about God with them. When they go to sleep I’ll talk about God with them. While we walk together I’ll speak about God with them. At all times of the day, God will be a main topic of our conversations and always on our minds. Parents, you have the most important job on earth, training your child to obey our God and walk in His ways.
If you have lost your heart of a child, repent. If you would like to be as a child and put on Christ, we will baptize you and welcome you into the family of Christ.