Thought for Thursday

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Matthew 2:16

We visited an Assembly one time in which the meetings were very orderly and quiet. As we gathered on the Lord’s Day morning, we had no interruptions from parents bringing in their children at the last minute. There were no disruptions during the meeting from mothers taking their babies out to feed or otherwise tend to their needs. There were no whisperings or shufflings of paper, or other child-related noises from the back seats, nor any cries or other outbursts from children with their parents. There were no children. Most of those in attendance were seniors, and only a few were young enough to have children, but they had none. And so, the meeting was very quiet and orderly, and it was very sad.

Folks in Bethlehem discovered what it was to be without little children. One, and possibly two, little children were taken from hundreds of homes in that area, murdered by Herod’s rage. The horror of that terrible outrage refused to fade, as mothers cried over their lost little ones. For a time, public gatherings in Bethlehem were quiet and orderly, but there was nothing pleasant about that fact. There is also nothing pleasant today when an Assembly lacks the young families that bring life to the gatherings of the Lord’s people. In Assemblies where young families are, the noise and confusion can be a disruption and cause impatience. But the alternative is too sad to contemplate!

Where no young children are is no fellowship among young parents. And the Assembly suffers from this lack. Where no young children are is no Sunday School. And the Assembly suffers from having no young people grow up under its teaching and shelter. Where no young children are is no effective children’s outreach. And the Assembly suffers from a lack of ingathering of folks from the outside to the Assembly’s sphere. Where no young children are is an aging Assembly fellowship. And the Assembly suffers from a lack of young participants and all the vitality and cheer that they bring. No young children means a hopeless prospect for the Assembly.

Ask the mothers in Bethlehem if they appreciated the quiet and orderliness of not having young children around, and watch them weep. A lack of children in our meetings today should make us weep also. -Jim MacIntosh

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