Close the opportunity gap

Posted Feb 15, 2019

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Daily Scripture

Luke 9:46-48

46 An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. 47 Aware of their deepest thoughts, Jesus took a little child and had the child stand beside him. 48 Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me. Whoever welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever is least among you all is the greatest.”

Reflection Questions

The church’s fourth 2030 goal says we will work to “break the cycle of poverty for children in Kansas City, giving each child the possibility of attaining a future with hope.” Scholar Craig Keener noted that the culture in which Jesus lived was even more dismissive of children than ours: “Status was a preeminent concern in ancient society; children had none.”* We speak more positively about children, but (especially if they are not our own offspring) we are too often blind to their lack of opportunity in life.

  • Jesus did not specifically mention children in Matthew 25:37-40, but he clearly signaled the importance of caring for all who are hungry, thirsty, naked, a stranger, sick and in prison. And he added that whatever we do to help “one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine,” we do for him. Now as then, children are often “the least of these.” How does Jesus’ parable, along with today’s Scripture, shape Resurrection’s fourth goal?
  • Jesus’ message about children was more than just “Be innocent and sweet.” His disciples argued about who was greatest (i.e. had the most status). Jesus told them not to focus on status, but on who needs you most. In what ways does that principle point to serving children without opportunity? Mother Teresa of Calcutta said hungry, sick or ill-clothed people are “Jesus in disguise.” How can setting aside our human interest in power, celebrity and status help Resurrection (and each of us individually) serve “Jesus in disguise,” caring for people in many kinds of need?


Lord, I’m excited, yet fearful that you would call me to serve your people in a way that takes me outside of my comfort zone. Please help me remember that all people are you in disguise. Amen.

* Craig S. Keener, comment on Luke 9:46-48 in The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

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Ginger Rothhaas

Ginger Rothhaas

Ginger is the creator of and is a graduate of Saint Paul School of Theology. She serves as a Care Minister at Resurrection Downtown and co-hosted the What Matters? podcast. She loves writing, teaching, conversations over coffee, and time with her husband and two children.

One of our church's goals is to provide pre-school opportunities for 4-year-old children in our partner schools. This would better prepare them for success in Kindergarten, and also launch them into a love of learning that would lead to success throughout their lives.

Since I have middle school aged children now, I did some research this week to remember what a 4-year-old brain is like. Child Specialist Chip Wood describes a child at age four:

They are explorers and adventurers who are soaking up the world of knowledge with incredible speed. Capable of almost nonstop mental and physical gymnastics, they throw themselves into nearly every activity with enthusiasm and a sense of purpose. Four-year-olds are flexible, exciting, and creative creatures who love to exaggerate and engage in imaginative play.*

Doesn’t that sound like fun?

I think this is who Jesus is calling us all to be when he teaches us to be like the children, welcome the children, and take care of children as they are vulnerable in society. Jesus knows the spirited life of children; they hold the secret to happiness and a pure connection to God. 

Read that quote above again and imagine if we were all like that--exploring, adventurous, enthusiastic, flexible, excited, creative, and imaginative. Jesus is teaching us to live inspired, in-spirit, like a child. And to value these qualities in others, not dismiss them as a nuisance or lesser-than.

If you feel like the child within you has grown up and you have lost touch with creativity, enthusiasm, and exploring, I invite you to consider how to re-ignite inspiration in your life.

Consider serving in our education ministry and renew your sense of awe in the presence of children. The volunteers who serve in our partner schools say they feel better about life after they have been with the students. The energy of young people is contagious, and their hearts are open to receiving your love. You might connect with a child that God hopes you will mentor and find your joy in the process.

Ask God if you might be called to serve in this way and then click here to learn more about Resurrection's partner schools ministry.

* Chip Wood, Yardsticks: Child and Adolescent Development Ages 4-14, Center for Responsive Schools, 2017.

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