Normally you’re not supposed to talk in the computer lab. Maybe college students were scarce that day, because for some reason my new friend and I had struck up a lively conversation without anyone shushing us.
(I’m sure this wouldn’t surprise my kids, who completely expect me to get into a lengthy discussion at some point while grocery shopping.)
She asked me how I became a Christian, and I launched into my story about how I became a believer as a young child.
I still remember lying in bed as a four year old, so afraid that I would die before I had been forgiven for sins like angrily biting my little brother or telling lies.
After weeks of my fearful knowledge that I was without Christ and had no way to save myself from hell, my mother knelt with me and helped me pray and ask Jesus to become my Saviour.
I smiled as I remembered, then l realized my new friend was not smiling. She was shaking her head, and as I stared in amazement, she launched into a long lecture about how wrong it is to think children can be saved.
“Don’t you know kids can’t understand spiritual things? Salvation is a matter that should be saved for older people who can really comprehend the gospel,” she scolded.
Although I was taken aback by her criticism, nothing she said could make me forget the awful conviction that I’d experienced as a young child as I hungered for relief from the guilt of my sins.
Sure, my sins had been small compared to more grown-up transgressions, but I’d known for sure – even then – that my childish sins were enough to prevent me from entering in heaven, where “there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie…”
Children Can – And Must – Be Reached With the Gospel
In her amazing book, In My Father’s House, Corrie Ten Boom talks about a letter she received after encouraging parents to reach their young children with the gospel. Here is an excerpt of the letter she received from a mother who heard her talk.
I went home after that meeting and went directly to my little girl, Mary, who was in bed. She knew about the Lord because she had been to a Sunday school but that night, in her bed, she gave her heart to Jesus.
The next morning she said, ‘Oh, Mommy, I’m so happy that Jesus is now in my heart. He made me a child of God.’
Mary was singing the whole time before she went to school, and I was amazed that she sang many songs about heaven.
My husband went to school to pick her up that day, and as he approached the schoolhouse, he noticed that a great many people were standing around, and there obviously must have been an accident. Then he saw what had happened.
Mary was on the street, her little body crumpled like a rag doll. She was dead.
Mary had passed behind a big transport truck and had not seen another car, which was coming toward her from the other direction. She was killed immediately.
My husband brought her little body home. He was in deep despair, but then he remembered the songs Mary had sung that morning. I told him what had happened the evening before, and right then, my husband, who had never made a decision for the Lord Jesus, accepted Him as his Saviour.
On Mary’s burial day many children of her class came to the Lord.”
– In My Father’s House, Corrie Ten Boom
Said a precious little laddie,
To his father one bright day,
“May I give myself to Jesus,
Let Him wash my sins away?”
O, my son, but you’re so little,
Wait until you older grow,
Bigger folks ’tis true, do need Him,
But little folk are safe, you know.
Said the father to his laddie,
As a storm was coming on,
“Are the sheep all safely sheltered,
Safe within the fold, my son?”
“All the big ones are, my father,
But the lambs, I let them go,
For I didn’t think it mattered,
Little ones are safe, you know.”
Jesus said to let the children come to Him. Who are we to ever say anyone, old or young, is unfit to come to Jesus if He has asked them to come?
I admit there are a ton of things about heaven that I don’t understand. I don’t know when a child becomes responsible before God.
I believe definitely, that if a child has become concerned about his soul, it is a sign that he is probably answerable and is in desperate need of a Saviour.
While I believe God is gracious and may work in people’s hearts in ways we may never see as onlookers, that is no excuse for me not to care enough to share the gospel with children. Even if all I can plant is a seed, God can bring forth the fruit in His own time and way. As one who came to Christ as a child myself, I tremble to even think of refusing to bring a child to Jesus who wanted to know Him.
If you don’t know how, let me explain what I needed to know as a four year old who knew I was on my way to hell:
- My sin, even as childish as it was, was standing between me and God. God can’t be with sin, and I must get rid of it.
- I can’t get rid of my sin on my own.
- Jesus loved me so much that He left heaven, became a person, and lived the perfect life without sin that I could never live.
- After living that perfect life, He died the most painful death instead of me. He became sin for me, who knew no sin, so I could be righteous – clean and perfect for God.
- To become clean and perfect, all I must do is “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and I shall be saved.”
That’s it. Jesus rose from the dead, and one day, as a believer, I would rise to meet Him in heaven. I was baptized in obedience later, and doing so helped me know that I know Him. “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.”
There is nothing in the world, and I mean NOTHING, as wonderful or as easy as leading a little child to Jesus. After all, He did say that except we all become as little children, we won’t see the kingdom of God.
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
As I come to the end of this post, I realize just how timely it is that God brought this subject to my mind today. It was seven years ago today, April 12, 2009, late on an Easter evening, that my oldest son began crying and told us he needed Jesus to save him. I’m SO thankful my husband didn’t turn him away, and that my mother didn’t turn me away that morning on April 16, 1986.
I will be thankful for the rest of forever.
What little child do you need to tell about Jesus – TODAY?
My friend Angelene Woodard has written a book specifically designed to prepare very young children for the day when they’ll be ready to trust Christ. You can read about it here.