Suffer the little children

By Pastor Mark A. Samuelson, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church | Aug 15, 2012

“Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them...” (Matthew 19:13-25 King James Version)

When I was in school the ladies who prepared the lunches made extra sandwiches just in case you forgot your lunch or lunch money. Milk was free and you could have as much as you wanted to drink.

Sometimes the sandwiches were baloney, sometimes peanut butter and jelly, sometimes, my favorite – Miracle Whip and lettuce on Wonder Bread. I occasionally sneak a trip to the grocery store and buy the ingredients to duplicate that miraculous sandwich.

I admit to a feeling of revulsion when I watched the long lines that formed outside the “Chick-Fil-A” franchises when people were buying meals in support of the owner whose comments on traditional marriage had motivated them to gorge themselves on one of his meals.

My revulsion was not at him or his comments, you can think what you want about marriage – my revulsion was in the fact that this is what motivated people to act.

When will people act to help hungry children? When will they line up to see to it that they have the food they need to lead productive lives? People often quote Matthew 19 in defense of marriage, when will we quote Matthew 19 in defense of children?

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) at Columbia University, there are about 24 million children under the age of 6 in the United States. Nearly 6 million of them live in poverty, many not knowing when or where their next meal will come from. That is one in four children.

Close to 12 million of them are from low income families where food anxiousness is a daily battle. That is one in two children who are anxious about whether they will eat their next meal.

I don’t remember a time in my life when I was worried about whether I would get to eat my next meal, do you?

Quoting from the NCCP website: “Economic hardship and other types of deprivation can have profound effects on children's development and their prospects for the future – and therefore on the nation as a whole.

“Low family income can impede children's cognitive development and their ability to learn. It can contribute to behavioral, social, and emotional problems. And it can cause and exacerbate poor child health as well.

“The children at greatest risk are those who experience economic hardship when they are young and children who experience severe and chronic hardship.”

I like to think that Jesus called the children up to him because he wanted them to be first in line for the meal that was about to be served.

Are you motivated to act? If so, call Volunteers of America at 1-800-899-0089 and ask about their Snack Pack program. Take the money that you plan to spend waiting in line at the fast food joint and spend it on feeding a kid instead.

I guarantee you won’t have to wait in line to do it.

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