THE GREATEST GIFTS THAT WE REJECT
Scott G. Landis
Our children are a gift from God (Ps. 127:3). But as with many valuable gifts, they seem to cease being a blessing the moment we cease following God and His way. As such, it is no surprise that secular society prefers to have few children. People today tend to avoid having too many children for the following reasons:
1. They cannot afford children.
2. They are too busy working and do not have time for children.
3. Or, they simply do not desire to be burdened by the presence of children in their lives.
It is unfortunate, however, that the church has followed the ways of the world. The world is very materialistic, and so is the church nowadays. We have developed a modern lifestyle and are addicted to accumulating things more than ever before. We try to keep up with the standards of society in giving our children the very finest. We supply our children with more toys and bigger houses than they actually need in our attempt to raise them like everyone else. This means that to have another child requires more bedrooms, more toys, and a bigger house. We outgrow the car (another $25,000). Food is expensive. And then the house is no longer quiet or clean. Of course, this is simply more than many are willing to sacrifice and so our children become too much of a burden.
But while our children require food and shelter, what they really need is a family—a caring home. Often, we fail to realize that the best gifts we can offer our children are our time, love, and devotion. A home that is full of God’s love and a biblical atmosphere is what every little boy and girl deserves. They do not need flashier toys and bigger houses.
It's important to remember that when God created man, He told them to multiply and fill the earth:
"Thus God created the man in his image: in the image of God created he him: he created them male and female. And God blessed them, and God said to them, Bring forth fruit and multiply, and fill the earth..." (Gen. 1:27-28, Geneva Bible).
So it’s God's desire that the earth be filled with families. And families are intended to be filled with children. And so allowing the Lord to bless us with larger families will certainly bring Him more glory. Let us not forget this.
But to raise large families, Christians also need the support of the Church. The Church should encourage young couples to embrace the prospect of a large family rather than a slim one with one or two children. Furthermore, the Church should make itself available to assist large families when possible. Sometimes this may involve financial support or it may simply require our time and energy. Besides, if we are not available to help others in their time of need, how can we expect others to help us? It is sad, though, how often people are neglected even in the church.
Finally, I would close by reminding us that our home is our primary mission field. We must attend to our own children first before attempting to reach others. And if we do our parenting well, our children will become the greatest source of encouragement to us and those around us as they grow older. There are many people needing encouragement today that can be best encouraged by a family with a thriving Christian testimony and little smiling faces.
Jesus said "whoever shall receive one of such little children in my name, receives me" (Mk. 9:37). So may God bless all those who would accept and love every little child which He desires to bless them with. And may our homes be filled with love and the sound of happy children.
• Ideally, in a proper home environment, older children can learn to help care for their younger siblings while training to become the next generation of Godly parents. Moreover, it is my opinion that young children don't need their own individual bedrooms while in their preschool years, as this only tends to breed more selfishness and anti-social behaviour. Perhaps after they reach adolescence, they can then be separated into just a couple of bedrooms based on gender. Besides, young children often enjoy each other’s company. And as they get older, they will enjoy sleeping out under the stars anyway. So why waste valuable house space—right? You see, if we abandon the false, culturally bred mentality that children are a burden, expensive, cramp our lifestyle, etc, we will be far more likely to welcome them into our lives. They will not appear so daunting or burdensome any longer.
• Also, if I may interject my personal advice here, I believe that in order to rear children properly, land in the country is ideal. That is where you can grow food and raise animals. And this domestic connection between nature and children is vital to their development and proper upbringing. Young children will enjoy the outdoors and can be taught to help in the garden, while the animals can help supply food and lessen the financial burden entailed in raising a family. The obvious excitement that children experience when tending to chickens or leading a cute little lamb around is an unforgettable snapshot. However, this option may not be available to all parents and may be considered a goal to work towards.