But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 19:14

Last week I had the privilege of attending the groundbreaking of Concordia International School in Hanoi, Vietnam. During my trip, I had the opportunity to speak with parents and school board members who expressed their deep appreciation for the LCMS’ work in Vietnam. It was an experience that I will always remember and cherish.

Most memorable, however, were the teachers called to teach and lead the students of this school and others in the region. Their dedication to the Gospel, to the Church, and to the children they disciple humbled me. They are but a small sample of the men and women who serve in hundreds of parochial schools across our nation and the world — men and women who are shaping the next generation of our church.

The Lutheran ethos of our Synod is always in the hands of those who disciple the next generation of church leaders, and our teachers are often at the center of that activity. Their faithful years of service and long hours of work, in and out of the classrooms, sustain the Synod’s most precious resource, the children who will someday teach, preach, evangelize, and care for the Church.

Their work is truly an investment in the future — with phenomenal dividends; yet, children in our society, and in our Synod, face ever-growing spiritual challenges with eternal consequences. Satan is not a respecter of persons, at any age. Can there be a more sinister plan of attack than to strike at the children of the Church?

Jesus suffered the little children to come unto Him. These words from Matthew’s gospel resonate with profound meaning today. The Savior rescued children from sin and death by His atoning work on the cross. It is the Church’s privilege to nurture these young believers in the faith at the earliest age less they fall victim to the ploys of the devil.

Parents, pastors, and teachers all have vital roles to play in caring for the spiritual wellbeing of our children. Each brings the gospel to children in their respective roles. Teachers, in many cases, spend more hours with children than do parents. Can we not but pray for and encourage these teachers? May it always be so.

God grants His grace and mercy to the Church. He gifts His Church with teachers. May our Lord Jesus Christ continue to call faithful teachers to nurture and prepare our children for faithful lives in service to Him. Amen.

Gregory K. Williamson
Chief Mission Officer
LCMS