[Jesus said to them,] “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them (Mark 10:14-16 NIV).

Three phrases capture my heart as they describe what Jesus did:

  • Jesus took the children in his arms.
  • Jesus placed his hands on them.
  • Jesus blessed them.

Jesus out-touched his talk. He spent time physically being tender with these children in addition to talking about them. In doing so, Jesus showed us that loving children is tactile … it involves our physical touch … it means that our hearts move our hands to bless, comfort, welcome, and encourage little ones.

While there are all sorts of ways of helping children through offering our money (see the links below*), real love finds a way to be tactile — to actually care for another personally, face-to-face, through human touch.

How do we know this? Because that is what God did!

While God sent a law and God sent prophets and God sent miracles and God sent leaders, God’s greatest message was sending the Son (Hebrews 1:1-3). He lived among us (John 1:14). He demonstrated God’s love for us (John 3:16) and became the reminder of our need to love each other genuinely, through things we do (1 John 3:16-18). And we see that love genuinely expressed in Jesus. As we read Jesus’ story in the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), we see God touching us and being touched by real people — God’s love become tactile.

After Jesus had completed his earthly ministry, his brother, James, explains the heart of true, Jesus-style religion this way:

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you (James 1:27 NLT).

The word for “caring” is the same word used about God “visiting” or “caring” or “helping” his people in tangible ways when Jesus raised a dead son back to life and gave him back to his widowed mother (Luke 7:17) — and yes, this story emphasizes the touch of Jesus, too (Luke 7:14).

For the next week, the daily Heartlight article will carry a brief reflection about the work among the orphan children of Lima, Peru, at an incredible place called Comunidad de Los Niños Sagrada Familia (http://hlt.me/qaynEb). My blog, The Phil Files (http://www.heartlight.org/thephilfiles), will have related video and pictures about things that happened during our days at The Community. I hope you will join me, along with over ninety others, who go in the name of Jesus to bless and be blessed by the over 900 children at this remarkable place. Your prayers would be appreciated!

And why do we go? Because we believe Jesus’ love must eventually be tactile, and he has given us this opportunity to be his hands to touch these children with his grace.

Jesus has given us this opportunity.

Peru 2010 Overview from Phil Ware on Vimeo.This is a brief glimpse of the first two days of last year's visit.

Three other of our favorite ways to help children at Heartlight are: