Parents have a lot on their plate these days. There’s the constant weighing of how much screen time is too much screen time. The guilt of feeding our children unhealthy food. The fear of senseless shootings, the anxiety of viruses, and the burden of paying for all that will give them a great childhood—these are just a few of the worries battling for seniority in my head.
Add to that the pressure to make sure our kids are reading classic literature by the time they’re two, typing seventy-five words a minute by the time they’re six, and participating in multiple sports so they have choices when it’s time to go pro, and I need a nap.
But a nap is out of the question when I see on social media that team mom Betty made goody bags for everyone on her son’s team, including grapes from her backyard vineyard and individualized Christmas tree ornaments—because this is a season to remember.
So, I secretly research “backyard vineyards,” only to realize that zucchini grows better in Indiana. Then before I know it, I’m stuffing zucchini and cheese sticks inside goody bags because this is a season to be healthy. Hypothetically speaking of course.
All these distractions, mountains to climb, standards to uphold, and it’s no wonder we’re tired. But here’s the thing: am I really failing my child if I can’t afford private coaching or they can’t play the piano or we don’t have time to participate in bi-weekly STEM activities?
The answer is no, in case you are wondering. It will be fine if our kids can’t remember where middle C is or have no idea how to build a robot. But it will not be fine if they don’t know Jesus.
Our Kids Need Jesus
Apart from putting my heart in the hands of Jesus, I can do nothing righteous or eternal (see John 15:5). Without Jesus reconciling me with the Father, I’ve got nothing. Jesus alone is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). There’s no getting to God, where love surrounds you and righteousness becomes you and joy invades you and life begins, without Jesus. That’s true for us, and it’s true for our kids.
Honestly, there’s no category of life that I don’t need Jesus for. I need Him for salvation. I need Him for my sanity. I need Him for perseverance and perspective and love and laughter. And if I need the Lord that much, then why wouldn’t my kids be the same way?
In a world where technology has tentacles longer than a lion’s mane jellyfish and pornography travels around in our back pockets and finding godly friends feels like discovering buried treasure, trust me, our kids need Jesus too.
Yet with all those zucchini-infused priorities keeping us busy, how much are we actually taking our kids to Jesus? And I don’t just mean taking them to church on Sundays. I’m talking about personally leading them straight into the presence of the holy God.
Jesus Loves and Wants Our Kids
Just before Jesus took the road to Jerusalem to be crucified on our behalf, Mark 10:13 says, “They were bringing children to him that he might touch them.” Who are they, you ask? Good question. I’m guessing moms or dads, grandparents or close friends, people who cared about these children’s future.
We don’t know what prompted the rush of kids, but the word for children in that verse can refer to any age from infant to preteen. It likely wasn’t just families with preschoolers standing in line to see Jesus. It’s never too late to take your child to God.
Can you imagine how life altering this could have been for those kids? What did Jesus say to them? Just think of it. The hand which had silently sculpted them in their mother’s womb now visibly rested upon each one in blessing. These parents could not have done any greater act of love than taking their beautiful babies to Jesus.
But the disciples were mad. How dare these kids get in the way of their adult agenda. But Jesus got a little mad too—at the disciples. Mark 10:14 says Jesus was indignant toward the disciples for blocking the path of those kids. Clearly, Jesus was not happy. Turning to the disciples, He gave this command: “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (v. 14).
Jesus issues a double command, which literally says, “Start allowing and stop preventing.” And I don’t think there could be any better word for parents than that. Start allowing! Stop preventing!
We Have a Responsibility to Take Our Kids to Jesus
As parents we have a lot of control over what our kids prioritize. The list of ways we might be preventing our kids from getting to Jesus is long. There are plenty of examples we could give. But here’s the good news: the list of ways we can encourage our kids to seek God is just as long.
We can model loving God with the fullness of our own hearts. We can make knowing and being with God a priority in our homes. We can put down our phones and pick up our Bibles. We can read it to them and with them and talk about it when we’re in the car, on the couch, or sitting on the edge of their bed.
We can continuously point them to prayer. We can model confession and repentance. We can remind them of the truth when they’re struggling and praise God with them when they’re victorious.
We can stop preventing and start allowing by carefully filtering what they’re seeing with their eyes and hearing with their ears. We can guard their hearts by guarding their minds. We can give them God-honoring boundaries and uphold them as a family.
Our kids aren’t going to run towards God on their own, but we can take them there by prioritizing seeking God. Over and over we can take them with confidence to the One who loves them even more than we do. “Let the children come to me,” said Jesus. Start allowing and stop preventing!
This absolutely requires some serious parental effort. We may have to sacrifice time, be willing to set aside our own agenda, or rethink family priorities. It may even mean we live life differently than society says we should. It’s not popular to put God first.
But there is no greater act of love than purposefully taking our kids to Jesus. As parents, the most important thing we can do today is pave a path for our beautiful babies straight to the presence of God. It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is or how tired we might be, taking our kids to Jesus is worth any sacrifice we have to make.