Little Children

“Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14).
Overpopulation is one of the world’s greatest problems. More than six billion people now crowd this planet, with two nations (China and India) hosting populations of more than one billion each. China has imposed strict regulations governing family planning in an effort to limit future population growth. Western cultures have achieved similar results through education and peer pressure. Still, the world continues to hold more and more humans each year.
Increased population means more little children. And therein lies a paradox for many. We don’t want more people than the earth can reasonably sustain. But we love children. They are precious, even priceless, and we know that we must continue to replenish the earth. Therefore our attitude towards “population growth” is mixed. Obviously the answer is to continue to have children, just not too many. Equally obviously, such a goal is easier to state than to achieve.
My visits to Asia have helped me understand the enormity of the problem. They have also helped me to appreciate the value of children. Whenever I visit a new village in Bangladesh, India or Nepal I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of children that greet me. I am a novelty to many of them and they are eager to see and touch me. They love for me to take their picture. They attend all meetings and studies and enjoy hearing the Bible taught. Their openness and affection helps illuminate Jesus’ statement, “of such is the kingdom of God”, and his teaching that “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it” (Mark 10:15).
The Bible is clear that God loves children.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is his reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:3-5).
The question of how many children should be born each year, or to whom, is difficult. Much less difficult is the attitude which we should have to those who are born. We must value and love them. We must protect and care for them. And we must bring them to Jesus.

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