Matthew 10:28-31 (NRSV)
Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
The women said to Naomi, "Blessed be the Lord ... for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne [a son]."
-- Ruth 4:14-15 (NRSV)
I was once part of a committee that selected the Bible phrases that went on the weekly bulletin covers for Sunday worship in our church. Many of the phrases were very beautiful but familiar. I remember how a friend and I insisted, however, that the phrase "more to you than seven sons" be included to demonstrate that daughters are just as important as sons.
I love the Bible story of Ruth -- a foreigner and an outsider -- who is accepted by God's people as one of their own. But even though the women praise Ruth, they do so by comparing her to sons, perpetuating a common prejudice in some cultures that sons are worth far more than daughters.
Children of all genders, races, and nations are equally valuable in God's eyes. Yet in times of war, economic hardship, political troubles, and oppression, there are those who value -- or devalue -- some children more than others.
As God's people, we are to value all the children of the world according to God's measure, to feed them, clothe them, teach them, and to treasure them.
Prayer: Father of the world's family, soften our hearts to respond to the plight of your suffering children. In Jesus' name. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
God counts on us to make a difference.
Children around the world