Sit Down and Shut Up!

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him” Psalm 127:3

It’s reported that two young boys were discussing parent problems. Of course, they had lots of complaints. But the biggest issue became evident when one boy turned to the other and said, “First they teach you to talk, then they teach you to walk, and as soon as you do it, it’s ‘Sit down and shut up!”

To be truthful, most parents have done this at some time. Sometimes our preference is for children to be seen and not heard. The disciples may have had this attitude. According to the account in Mark 10 it would seem that the disciples preferred not having the children around. But, “when Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them’” Mark 10:14. In saying this Jesus teaches a vital principle – children shouldn’t be ignored. They shouldn’t be pushed aside. And they shouldn’t be ostracized or marginalized.

In the era of latch key kids, daycare facilities, and stay at home mums who are few and far between we need to remind ourselves of the importance of paying attention to children. Let’s not forget that “sons are a heritage from the Lord,” and “children a reward from him” Psalm 127:3. And let’s not forget that one of the most important things parents can do for their children is to give of themselves with both quality and quantity time. So notice the children. Make time for them. Find creative ways to play games with them, to read with them, to worship God with them, to attend their school functions, to sit and talk with them, to listen to their daily exploits, to pray with them, to work with them, to take time to be their best friend, to share the Gospel with them, and to just hang out with them.

Which brings me to the woman who wrote to Gypsy Smith after an evangelistic campaign to tell him she’d been converted after hearing one of his messages. Her letter said, “I believe the Lord wants me to preach the Gospel, Brother Smith, but the trouble is that I have twelve children to raise! What shall I do?” She received this letter in reply: “My dear lady, I am happy to hear that you’ve been saved and feel called to preach, but I’m even more delighted to know that God has already provided you with a congregation of twelve.” The new convert got the point!

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