I believe God is calling us to empower our children to live with purpose now. Not when they reach an acceptable age of maturity, but right now, whatever their age. There is certainly no age limit to when someone can be effective in the kingdom. In fact, when age is mentioned in the New Testament, it is an encouragement to Timothy to not to let anyone look down on him because he is young, but to set an example to all the believers (see 1 Timothy 4:12).
In our pride, I believe many of us look down on children without even realizing it. We think we know more than they do. For example, we are in the leadership role and they are on the receiving end of our training, so therefore we have more to offer. Or we’re the ones giving in this relationship and there is nothing for us to receive. However, it takes great humility to learn from the person we’re supposed to be leading, and I believe God is calling us to do just that. Learn from them. Believe in them. See them as vital members of His Kingdom now, because God does.
Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-3)
Children can be world changers now. However, often times as parents we can get so focused on training our children, which is absolutely necessary, that we can miss seeing our children through the lens of our Heavenly Father. He is telling us that children have something to offer this world and something we can learn from them right now.
We as parents need to be the ones encouraging our children to rise and shine for their time has come! If we want our children to be mighty men and women of God we need to start treating them like it. We need to raise our expectations for our children; not in a demanding way, but in a way that says, You can do this. You were created for more. You’re not meant to just live for yourself as a child and then magically turn into a caring, responsible, adult when you turn 18.
We need to be giving our children a place to live out their God-given callings as a child; seeing childhood as not just a training ground, but a mission field! We need to be teaching and expecting our children to overcome their fleshly desires now. To lay their lives down now for the sake of others. To be bold and share the gospel with their friends now. They need us to believe in them that they can affect others for Christ now. They are not just in training, they are also in active duty.
Parents, we must take primary responsibility for the spiritual maturity of our children! If we don’t expect that our children can or should be world changers now, why should they expect that they can be?
D. L. Moody put it this way: “If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God.” He saw the value in children. He saw the importance of getting them on God’s team now and how raising up children for the Lord is powerful.
Parents, let’s commit to giving our children a place in our homes, churches, and communities to lead and act out their faith now. We need to mentor them, yes. Train them, yes. But we also need to walk side-by-side with them in the kingdom, seeing them as our fellow workers who we can not only work with, but also learn from. Go out and encourage your child to be the man or women of God they were created to be RIGHT NOW!