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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 29 : Despise Not Little Ones | Day 197

Despise Not Little Ones!

Dwight was a little-known shoe salesman in Chicago. He lacked the education for public speaking; however, he possessed many qualities that God blessed. One of these qualities was revealed when he returned from a tent meeting and a friend inquired, "How many people were led to Christ?" He answered, "Two and a half." The friend asked, "Do you mean two adults and one child?" "No," Dwight replied, "two children and one adult. The adult has already spent half of his life. The children have their whole lives ahead of them!"

Dwight Moody's love for children motivated him to rent pews at church and fill them with neighborhood boys and girls. His ministry to children further expanded when he began to teach a Sunday school, which eventually grew to be the largest in the nation. Dwight Moody's life provides an excellent example of the following command:

Command Twenty-Nine: “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).

This command was given as part of Jesus' answer to a question He received from His disciples. In His response, we can observe several reasons why we should not despise little ones. The disciples had asked Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Matthew 18:1). Most likely they thought He would name someone who was rich or had a lot of public influence. Instead, Jesus called a little child into their midst and challenged their concept of greatness by saying that childlike humility is what makes a person great in the kingdom of heaven.

Despising children often begins with the misconceptions that they are not very valuable, have little or nothing to contribute to our lives, and that we are more important than they are. Jesus testified to the importance of little ones by stating that the angels who are assigned to them have direct access to the face of God in heaven.

The motivation to despise children often develops when our personal freedoms are constrained because of their needs or limitations. If we must make adjustments to our schedules or choices of activities for their good, we tend to become frustrated and resentful, unless we recognize our sacrifices as being done for the Lord Jesus Christ.

“And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me” (Matthew 18:5).

In this verse, the Greek word for receive means to "accept, receive, take." Receiving a little one would include bringing a child into the world and training him up in the ways of the Lord. Jesus said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).

What is our response to little ones? Do we despise them through our actions and attitudes, or do we lovingly accept them, recognizing their great worth and importance to God? Let's take advantage of the incredible opportunity we have to honor Christ by receiving little ones.

“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).

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