The other day I mentioned the impressive “Child Theology” movement which strives to consider the impact of the child on theological thinking. (See: https://pieterstok.com/2012/07/15/child-theology/).
Today I want to make a simple observation: Children have an amazing place and role in Scripture. Not only are they made in God’s image, like the rest of us, and not only are they part of the pain and joy of God’s people, but God also uses children in a direct way to achieve His ends.
Let us consider some examples:
1. Joseph (OT) was a young lad of 17 when he started his journey under God’s hand to be his family’s improbable saviour.
2. Samuel went to serve the Lord in the temple after he was weaned – he was very young.
3. David is the forgotten young man who God sets aside to become King of Israel
4. In the midst of rebellion, Josiah became a godly King at 8 years of age.
5. Jeremiah started his work as a prophet at 14 years of age.
There are many more, not the least Mary who became the mother of the Messiah. At Pentecost, Peter especially mentions the young as a group of God’s people upon whom the Spirit of God is poured.
I believe there is a challenge for parents and church leaders to remember these facts, that is, to acknowledge openly and often, the significance of the young in the church and God’s call and claim upon their lives. I also believe that this is an antidote to the directionless teenage years and the ennui that seems to grab hold of too many of our young people.
If the young have a place and a purpose in the kingdom, why are they so often neglected in the church when it comes to active roles? We may teach them and even pander to them but do we challenge them to service, as God did, and still does?