The value of children

29 Nov

Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court. Psalm 127:3-5

During my time being pregnant people were more than willing to see that I was adequately prepared with “realistic” expectations about the next stage of my life. It was intriguing for me to listen to the different ways that mothers in particular express their attitudes about parenthood. I really appreciated those women who encouraged me to see the blessing of children and shared with me more of their joy than their troubles with being a mother.

As we know too well the unbelievers around us seem to be confused about the value of their children. On the one hand many idolise and live for their children whilst on the other hand many others do not place a high value on children at all, evidenced by the high abortion and child abuse rates and the number of couples who don’t want the inconvenience of even them. There also seems to be a widespread mindset that regards children as a bother, as an expense, and as an obstacle that hinders their parents’ success and enjoyment of life.

But God has a different view. He calls children “blessings”! The Bible describes children as gifts from God and as rewards! Though He may choose to bless us in many different ways, one of the most prominent ones in the Scriptures is by blessing us with a large family. How many people today associate “large family” with “blessings”? Probably not many! There are also many passages of scripture where parents refer to their children as gifts from God or where God is credited with having given a particular child as a special gift and blessing. Even from the creation of Adam and Eve we find God blessing mankind with the words, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28).

I am ashamed to say that many Christians (including myself at times) seem to have adopted some of the world’s view concerning children. Truly this world does press in on us and try to conform us to itself. And we do sometimes conform without even realising that is what we are doing! Rather than seeing children as primarily burdens and financial obligations, we should see them as God sees them. We need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds through the word of God (Romans 12:2).

Admittedly, children are a huge responsibility and require a great deal of self-sacrifice on the part of their parents. So in this sense, there is a burden involved. But the Bible portrays the blessing of children to be so much greater than the burden of their care and upbringing. All children are given by God to be blessings to their parents (even to the ungodly). A “quiver full” of children is a great blessing, but is not part of God’s plan for everyone. Some people very favored by God will not be blessed with children at all or will be blessed with very few (i.e. Abraham with Sarah; Isaac & Rebekah; Zachariah & Elizabeth). But whether or not God chooses to bless us in this way, we should all learn to value children as He does and welcome each and every one.

Jana Koulouris

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