In church, there once was a small child who was constantly turning and smiling at everyone. One Sabbath, during prayers he was doing the same thing, smiling at the people. He wasn’t talking loud, humming, tearing at the hymnbooks, being disruptive, or rummaging through his mother’s handbag. He was just smiling. Suddenly his mother jerked him around, and in a angry whisper everyone could hear, said, “Stop grinning. You’re in church!” With that she slapped his hind side. As tears rolled down his cheeks she added, “That’s better,” and returned to her prayers. If he couldn’t’ smile in church, where was there left to go?
The first thing one should know, this story didn’t happen in one of God’s churches. I wrote this story hopefully to shock us all into examining our own behavior towards our children when it comes to Sabbath services. Sometimes children do misbehave, sometimes they need to be corrected, but sometimes children just need to be children.
The future of our world hangs on the lives of these young people. Church and those within sometimes leaves an indelible impression in the minds of our children. If we are too harsh on them, and expect an indifferent way, their view of the church will be a bad one. Too many children have left the church because it wasn’t a happy place for them when they were younger. Children are the backbone of the future church, without them, there is no church.
Our children saw the church through us, they saw the harshness towards one another, and they saw the backbiting, hypocritical attitudes that formed so-called Christians. They needed love, so often, what we taught was how to hate. They wanted joy; we showed them the way to sadness.
God loves us all and wants us to be like children when it came to our attitudes. We should be the ones with smiles on our faces and happiness in our hearts. The Sabbath is a joyous, time; it should be a time of celebration. It should be a weekly reunion with God and a rehearsal of our union with God in the kingdom. How can we manage to turn such a wonderful event into something undesirable? We are humans physically, but we are instructed we should think spiritually; for the sake of our children and for ourselves, perhaps we ought to begin doing just that.