Matthew 18:1-35 (ESV) At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Mark 10:13-16 (ESV) And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
Luke 18:15-17 (ESV) Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Matthew 19:13-15 (ESV) Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.
Author: M Vetter
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts . . . Even the sparrow finds a home at your altar . . .” Psalm 84:1,3
I am grateful to several who have prayed for my little sparrow in Rwanda. Fraterine is a ten-year-old boy, who until the last year, has led a solitary life, away from school, and simply drifting during the days because so many children made fun of his discomfiting, facial skin condition. Since discovering God’s little sparrow last summer, we from the Dufatanye Organization have sought to assist him and his family by taking him to see multiple doctors for treatment, building a new house and a chicken coop, and providing more nutritious foods for his family.
Three weeks ago, a maxillofacial surgeon performed oral surgery to biopsy portions of Fraterine’s lips that had become ulcerated and looked suspicious. We were worried that he might have oral cancer in addition to his serious skin disease. Many of you have prayed for the results of this biopsy.
I am thrilled to share that Fraterine does NOT have oral cancer! Not only that, this past Saturday, he attended our “Bible and Breakfast Club” and was all smiles! Two hundred fifty-one children gathered and, in addition to hearing the Bible lesson and enjoying porridge and bread, the children received numerous gifts including a bag of maize flour, notebooks, pens, Vaseline, and a long bar of soap. Our team also met with the parents to emphasize good habits in nutrition, sanitary practices and safety.
A sparrow is a small, seemingly insignificant bird that spends much time alone. Despite its diminutive size, God values sparrows and not one falls to the earth apart from our Father’s care (Matthew 10:29). Often, a sparrow is associated with finding its home in the sanctuary or altars of the Lord. A “sanctuary” can denote a physical place where people worship God, even as we do today. But it can also figuratively imply a solitary, spiritual “place” where a Christian may worship the Lord and seek His face.
Our little sparrow in Rwanda, Fraterine, sensed he knew where to find help. At the time, he may not have known that it was our Lord directing his steps, but I believe he knows now. God had seen his humble heart as he sat one day in a hot, glaring solitary place and cried out within his soul for help.
What a beautiful metaphor for us. If a sparrow instinctively knows to draw close to its Creator near the Lord’s altar, how much more should we know to build our lives gazing upon that same altar in the sanctuary of the Lord. The gospel writer, Matthew, encourages, “ . . . do not be anxious about your life . . . Look at the birds [Greek word for “sparrow”] of the air: they neither sow nor reap or gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them . . . “. Will He not also feed us?
Ask yourself, “Where is my sanctuary? Who provides spiritual nourishment for me? Do I seek to dwell at the altar of God, in the courts of the living Lord?”
Be like the sparrow. Set your heart on things above. Seek the Lord’s face. Draw near to God. He WILL draw near to you.
[Source: Dr. R. Mark Gaffney, in Where the Birds Make Their Nests]