Meditation for Monday

But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 8:12

A nasty boy sneered at me as we played outside the little building where the Sunday School was about to be convened. It was the last day of Sunday School before the summer break, and there were awards to be given to the children who had done the best. I had expressed a hope that I would win the prize in our class. Not that I deserved the prize, because my behaviour and memorization were nothing to brag about. But I hoped, and said so. So the nasty little boy informed me, and the other boys, that we had nothing to hope for, because his daddy, the teacher, would give him the prize. When the time came for the prizes to be announced, I was disappointed. But my disappointment was much easier to bear than I expected; the teacher gave the prize, not to his son, but to the quiet boy in dark-rimmed glasses who always knew his memory verse and who always smiled at everybody. I was happy for him, and glad the teacher did not reward an undeserving son. God doesn’t reward the undeserving children, either, no matter how closely related to His people they are.

Jesus was primarily speaking of the Israelites. These people who could trace their lineage to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob took great pride in that fact, and relied heavily on it for a claim to blessings from God. Their leaders had vast amounts of study to their credit, but had pumped much of their own embellishment into their claim to following the Word of God. These leaders knew all about the letter of the Law, but knew little of its spirit. And they were called hypocrites by John Baptist and by the Lord Jesus. They were the children of the kingdom who knew much about the kingdom and nothing about its King. What those people thought was an inside track to God took them to outer darkness and eternal loss. Sadly, it’s not only those Bible-time Jews who were among the wayward children.

Every time we have a prayer meeting before the weekly Gospel meeting, I am touched by the length of the prayer list that includes unsaved children of those in the Assembly. Some have been prayed for for many years, others are barely reaching the age of accountability. But they are a burden on our hearts because we know that, if they are not saved, they will remain children of the kingdom and never become members of the kingdom. We know how responsible some of these children are, how terrible will be their loss if they neglect so great salvation. So we earnestly pray for them to be gathered in.

For the children of the kingdom, we are greatly burdened. Oh, Lord, save them! -Jim MacIntosh

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