The Frequent Question We Ask
Over and over again, Scripture circles back to answering a critical question for us: How does God feel about me?
The reason Scripture answers this question so often is because we struggle so frequently with questions about our worth.
Our struggle begins early in life when it feels to us that our own parents are too busy with other matters, leaving us with the impression that even our parents’ interest in us is lacking. An article at www.studyfinds.org from November 8, 2019 reports on a recent survey of 2,000 U.S. parents (with children between the ages of 3-16) conducted by OnePoll. More than half of the respondents (55%) admitted that they are too busy with other commitments to spend quality time with their children. Forty percent admit to having missed out on at least one major milestone in their child’s life due to a more pressing obligation. Even when they do spend time together, 78% of the surveyed parents said that their children had complained about the parent not being fully focused on them.
Our struggle with questions about our worth is reinforced by negative comments aimed at us while growing up. Another survey asked parents to record how many negative versus positive comments they made to their children. The results showed that children were typically criticized 10 times for every favorable comment, leaving them with the feeling that they are more of a pain to their parents than a joy, and wondering whether God feels the same way.
Mark 10:13-16 reports that people were bringing children to Jesus to be blessed by him. Here is a wonderful opportunity for these children to discover how deeply God cares for them! But Jesus’ disciples send a contrary message. The disciples buy into the common misconception that God is too busy with “important” matters to take an interest in children. Mark reports that the disciples “spoke sternly to them.” The message the disciples delivered was that the children were an annoyance to Jesus, a distraction from more important work, and a pain in the neck.
At this, Jesus was “indignant.” Whenever God’s care is denied to others, God becomes indignant. Whenever God’s interest in even the “least” among us is blocked, God becomes indignant.
Jesus affirms the worth of these children (and of all children) by giving his time and attention to them, even forbidding the disciples from getting in the way of bringing children to him. And he affirms their worth by giving them the ultimate compliment, stressing that the kingdom of heaven belongs to “such as these” and that no one can receive the kingdom of God unless we do so as a child. And he affirms their worth by taking them in his arms and blessing them.
This passage of Scripture calls for two applications from us:
1: Take to heart how deeply valuable we are to God!
2: Strive to treat others in ways that affirm rather than deny their sense of worth.