Kids can say and do things that touch your heart and move you like no one else; perhaps because of their nearness and closeness to God. Jesus declared in Matthew 18:5, “And whoso shall receive one such child in my name receiveth me.” Jesus is saying that the heart of a child is in the throne room of God; that whoever ministers to a child is ministering directly to God and receives God in humility. Strange as it seems, across America today, many churches who claim the name of Jesus, place children as their last priority.
As I walk through the inner-city, I see things and experience things that cause me to cry out in pain for these hurting kids. And these things are not out of the ordinary. I mean these things are the norm, rather than the exception. Last week I knocked on a locked gate of one of the apartments we were visiting in the inner-city. After several knocks on the gate a bald-headed black woman answered the door, looked at me and said, “Pastor Scott, please pray for me; I’m dying of cancer.” After I prayed for her she introduced me to her teenaged daughter who was eight months pregnant by her boyfriend who left her for another girl. Children raising children. Just then, her twelve year-old son, whom we were there to visit, came up and she said to me, “He had to stay after school today because of a fight he was in. We’ll have to go to court next week.” As we were leaving I noticed the boy’s father in the back of the building; drinking, smoking and hanging out.
Last night, while out visiting, we pulled up to one of our apartment complexes and looked up. One of the sisters of the kids we were going to visit was being led out of the apartment in handcuffs by a county police officer. I asked the mother what was wrong and she said, “I have no one to help me; I don’t know what to do with this kid. Jail is better for her than death.” I’ve got to tell you, this is the kind of thing we encounter every time we go visiting homes; week after week; all year long. Things can sometimes look hopeless, but they’re not. All these people need is hope and that’s what the gospel gives them.
It wasn’t long ago that God impressed upon my heart that the personal visitations we do in the neighborhoods are effective and powerful tools that give kids something to look forward to on a weekly basis. I know for a fact, the home is full of violence and drugs, but the hope and knowledge that someone cares for her and loves her keeps her going on a weekly basis. Many of these kids have absolutely no one in their lives that have any relationship with God. We must represent Jesus to them. There must be someone in their lives who speaks the truth and represents it. Let’s face it: these kids aren’t going to just magically show up at church anytime soon and perhaps never! We at all costs must go to them where they live and do whatever it takes to get them under the sound of the Gospel at least one time. I recently read an article published by the Child Evangelism Fellowship that stated that 83% of people who do not receive Jesus Christ by their eighteenth birthday, never will. Continued sin hardens the heart and deafens a person to God’s call of repentance and salvation in their lives. Imagine the multitudes that live in the utter darkness of the rejection of God’s perfect love gift, Jesus Christ.
Perhaps right now, as you read this article, God is speaking to your heart. Maybe you have never been involved in God’s work or perhaps you don’t know what that means in your life. I found out what it meant in mine. Human need is the call of God in your life. As Pastor Bill Wilson puts it, “The need is the call.” It might be as simple as helping someone carry a bag of groceries or babysitting a single mom’s kids while she looks for work. Or maybe it will be like it was for me the other day, when I saw a man with no legs sitting in a wheel chair in front of a trash dumpster. Someone had thrown out a couch he desperately wanted. We simply picked up the couch and carried it to his apartment. In tears, he said no one had ever done that for him before. Or perhaps for you, it will be like the little girl who wanted me to pray for her mother and afterwards said, “Thank you Papa, God will bless you.”
I don’t know about you, but it’s all out there. There are kids and people just waiting for someone to show up in their lives with the message of God’s love. It’s time to get out of our world and into theirs. We have people all over the country helping us but we could be doing a lot more. Through your generous support others can be sent and get the job done. God bless you.