When my sisters and I were very young, our grandmother gave us some beautiful purple stones from a broken necklace. It was only a costume jewelry necklace, but as we proudly showed the stones to our grandfather, he exclaimed, “Oh boy, you’ve really got something there! Those look like amethysts, and they’re worth a lot of money!” Of course we were completely thrilled and convinced the stones were genuine amethysts. We had struck it rich! Everyone knew that Grandpap put the “j” in “jokester,” but we overlooked that in the excitement of the moment. We couldn’t wait to tell our brother of this newly discovered family fortune when he returned from church camp. We set out to sell our precious gems at the end of our driveway as cars passed by on that hot summer afternoon. Waving umbrellas to attract attention, we were unsuccessful in selling even one stone. Not discouraged in the least, we carefully put the gemstones in a Gold Rush Bubblegum bag and headed to the local bank in the small town where we lived.
The teller at the bank window could hardly see us as she peered over the counter. No doubt we looked like three little hot, sweaty waifs that summer day as my sister, Leah, reached up and plopped the small bag of jewels on the counter. “We think these are amethysts, and we want to know how much money they are worth,” she said, as she mustered up the courage to speak in the presence of bank professionals and customers. The teller smiled, and as she came out from behind the counter to examine the jewels more closely, said with tongue-in-cheek, “Ohhhhhh, these are very special! You’ll need to take them to a jewelry store (wink, wink) to have them appraised and find out what you can get for them.” That made good sense to us, and with the jewelry bag in hand, we left the bank, satisfied that the nice bank lady appreciated the beauty of our treasure as much as we did.
How kindly and respectfully she treated us that day. Even the audience in the bank held their gasps of laughter until we left. No one dashed our hopes and dreams to the rocks, as well they could have. Our faith in impossible things happening along life’s way—like finding precious jewels and a fortune in Grandma’s jewelry box--remained intact. We left the bank only slightly disappointed that our plan to put our parents on Easy Street would have to come in another way. Our faith in good things happening rather than bad was carefully protected.
Jesus understood the pure undefiled faith of children and warned adults to guard, not destroy it. The Passion Translation records Luke 18:15-17 like this: The people brought their babies and small children to Jesus so that he might lay his hands on them to bless them. When the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents and told them to stop troubling the Master. Seeing what was happening, Jesus called for the parents, the children, and his disciples to come and listen to him. Then he told them, “Never hinder a child from coming to me but let them all come, for God’s kingdom belongs to them as much as it does to anyone else. These children demonstrate to you what faith is all about. Learn this well: unless you receive the revelation of the kingdom the same way a little child receives it, you will never be able to enter in.”
The faith of a child is powerful, probably because it is not tarnished by worldly patterns of sin and ungodliness that can tempt and entrap us as we grow into adulthood. There is a humility in children that stirs the heart of God to action. Matthew 18:2-4 records this remarkable incident: Jesus called a small child over to him and put the child among them. Then he said, "I assure you, unless you turn from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Healing can occur when a child prays for a sick person; love is profoundly expressed when a child’s small hand touches us. God’s power is released!
Never underestimate your ability to encourage faith to grow in a child. We can do that simply by reading the Word to them, teaching them to pray for others, and telling them of God’s marvelous ways and the things He’s done for us. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (NLT) says, and you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.
Although faith in our precious amethysts never brought riches, the faith in Christ that my siblings and I share continues to bring great riches of healing, provision, peace, and joy that are priceless treasures.
© 2021, Chris Werre