After His resurrection, one of the first commands of Jesus was given to Peter—"Feed My lambs." John 21 :15. Before his conversion Peter often became impatient with those who came to Jesus for help. When the mothers brought their children to Jesus to be blessed, Peter and the other disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, "Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." Luke 18 :16. He loved the children and wanted them to come to Him.
"In His teaching He came down to their level. He, the Majesty of heaven, did not disdain to answer their questions, and simplify His important lessons to meet their childish understanding. He planted in their minds the seeds of truth, which in afteryears would spring up, and bear fruit unto eternal life."—The Desire of Ages, pp. 514, 515.
It was after Peter declared His love for Jesus that Jesus commanded him to feed the lambs. This was the work in which Peter had little experience. It would require great tenderness and patience, but through his own suffering and repentance he was now ready for the work of helping others.
If we really love Christ we, too, will realize we have a responsibility in helping the children as well as adults. Jesus is the Shepherd, and to us, His undershepherds, He entrusts the work of caring for the lambs of the fold. Very' often we are zealous to help others, but neglect the children. They, too, need to know how to come to Jesus. They need to be taught that Jesus loves them and how to give their hearts to Him when they are young. We must not expect them to have the same experience as an adult has, but they may come to Jesus and have an experience according to their years. Thus they will grow up into Christ and be stronger Christians when they are older. Through the children some unconverted parents may even be reached.
Let rue cite two examples in one of our schools. Bonnie was an eight-year-old girl who came to our school from a non-Adventist home. She said she was an Adventist, "even if mamma and daddy are not."
One day she went home and said to her father, "Daddy, I'm going to be awfully lonesome in heaven without you and mamma."
"What makes you think we aren't going to heaven?" her father asked.
"Because you don't keep the Sabbath, and you drink and smoke."
Bonnie's daddy no longer works in his store on the Sabbath, and Bonnie hopes both her parents will be with her in heaven.
Marie was a seven-year-old girl attending church school. She was an industrious child but did not seem especially responsive to spiritual talks until we had a lesson on the books of heaven one day in our Bible class. I used illustrations on the blackboard to impress the lesson and show how Jesus blots out our sins when we confess them. We talked on the importance of confessing all our sins, and how this should be done.
One evening soon after this discussion on confession and forgiveness, Marie called me on the telephone and confessed something she had done in school a few weeks before. Later Marie's mother told me that when Marie returned home from school. she had told her what we had been talking about. After confessing some childish wrong to her mother she wondered how she could confess to me that night, as she did not want to wait until the next morning. Her mother suggested that she call me on the phone.
"Mother," she said, "I think the Lord must have told the teacher to talk to us about confession." Since this experience she has shown a change in her attitude. Surely conversion is not for adults alone.
Heaven is a real place to children. They love to talk about it, what they are going to do when they get there, and how much they desire to go. If we will heed God's command, and with love in our hearts make our religion a joy, we will see souls in God's kingdom as a result. Experiences such as these are rich rewards in working for boys and girls.