By Bishop Paul Butler
Children are generally hidden away in history. They are not seen as important. Yet Joash becomes king as a seven year old and as a young person leads a radical reformation and renewal amongst God’s people. The Psalmist reminds us that children are a gift from God; they are a blessing, even if at times they are hard work. Amaziah treats the children rightly in his own day, whilst he is the young king. It is in later life that both kings lose their way and cease listening to the wise counsel of others, and the word of the Lord.
We must honour the spiritual life of children and encourage them to serve the Lord; recognizing that there will be times when they will lead us well.
For wise leadership is needed at all times. Paul understood this and he saw it in his fellow worker Apollos. Unfortunately the Corinthian Christians decided to set these 2 men, along with Peter, as rival leaders. Paul knew that they needed each other, having different gifts and callings to enable the whole people of God to grow and mature. Still we fall foul of putting leaders onto pedestals and creating rival factions within the church. Yet in every church, and across our churches we need the mutuality of gifts that come from different leaders. No one has it all. Dividing behind personalities or styles will never produce healthy churches.
God help us recognise the value of children, the dangers of later life and the gifts and responsibilities of all.
How much do we recognise the gifts and value of children in our church and community?
What dangers of division through personality and gifting exist where you are?
Lord, thank you for the blessing of children. Teach us to work together across all ages that our lives may offer you the worship that you deserve. Amen.
Bishop Paul Butler is Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham in England