“Then children were brought to him that he might lay hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’ And he laid his hands on them and went away,” (Matthew 19:13-15, ESV).
Why did the disciples rebuke the people for bringing children to Jesus? I think they were concerned the kids would not understand, and they would cause a distraction from what Jesus was teaching. Maybe the thought was “Hey! We’re adulting here, go somewhere else and play.”
words + photographs MAGGIE WATSON
While I can appreciate insightful discussion with other adults about the deeper aspects of faith, in certain seasons of life, I find myself too tired for a daily dose of in-depth theology. Sometimes I like looking up every word in a commentary, and other times I find myself burnt out on homework-driven Bible studies. With a little extra time on my hands in 2020, I read through the Bible from cover to cover. I have been a Christian for 25 years, but I had never made it all the way. I read every book, but never from beginning to end. In years past, I would read to Leviticus and lose interest. In all honesty, I lost interest long before Leviticus. Assuredly I say unto you, I knew the first few chapters of Genesis REALLY well – as many times as I had tried and failed. It was an amazing journey, but it was intense.
I read or listened to an excerpt from scripture each day. I used the YouVersion app, (or the app for kids) and a devotional video series produced by The Bible Project. I had to be careful, though, because I have dealt with a lot of legalism in scripture reading in the past. I had to give myself grace to get behind a few days every once in a while. I wanted it to be meaningful and rewarding – to understand the main ideas of each individual book, the author, and the main audience of each passage. I made it, but my brain needs a break now.
This year I decided to put a bit more play into my time with God. I have three ideas I think can help someone who needs a change like me.
- Read from a children’s devotional, then supplement with adult Bible study resources, if you feel you need to. I’m using Devotions for Beginning Readers by Crystal Bowman and Christy Lee Taylor. Each day showcases a sight word, a verse, a poem, and a prayer. The concepts are initially simple, but powerful when coupled with some adult-size critical thinking. If I want to know more about any of the information for the day, then I do some googling and searching in online commentaries. I did not say your WHOLE time with God needs to be in the children’s domain, but it is sometimes a refreshing place to start.
- Add a few childlike activities into your new, not-so-quiet time. Listen to music. Find a coloring devotional, or draw out the story. Spend some time outside, and thank God for all He has made. Make a traditional Seder meal for Passover, or use an Advent calendar and candles in your home at Christmas. I highly recommend the book Sacred Holidays by Becky Kiser as a tool for adding a lot of fun to each holiday you celebrate. You don’t have to add these in every day. After all, the time is meant to be FUN, so do not stress yourself out while planning extra activities.
- Volunteer in the children’s department at your church. Sing the songs and memorize the scripture with them. Study the weekly lesson, and learn as much as you can about that topic or story. Some people say it is the job of the people with kids to help in children’s ministry, but I say more people WITHOUT kids need to help. The parents should have a break. As a teacher, my knowledge of scripture grows. You will never learn more than when preparing how to teach a story to someone else. Especially when that little someone has 47,000 questions.
If nothing else, just try something new. As I sit here this morning eating breakfast and typing, I’m learning His love is new every morning, and it never ends (Lamentations 3:22). I doubt He would mind you trying something fun and new. MW