It is a fact. Children can get in the way of careers. They can get in the way of financial aspirations. They can get in the way of freedom to do what people want to do. And now, on top of all the other pressures against having children, we keep hearing about the environmental impact children have upon our world. I can’t remember what magazine I’d seen it in, but I remember seeing one ad that displayed exactly what kind of environmental impact each child would have in his or her lifetime. The message was clear: having children was bad for the environment. And the message is getting through. If you have more than 1 or 2 children, there are members of society who will frown upon you.
Of course, this goes contrary to God’s plan. In Genesis 1:28 God said, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth…” This command was repeated to both Noah (Genesis 9:1) and to Jacob (Genesis 35:11). Psalms 127 speaks of the man who has many children as the man who is blessed. And indeed, God does view children as a blessing. Often times when God blessed people, He almost always included in that blessing the promise of many children. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and many more were promised the blessing of many children!
Heather and I have been enjoying the blessing of four children. As with many other parents, we could not imagine our home with any one of them not here. Some of you have heard me say before that if I knew how much blessing our four children would be I would have wanted another four. They have filled (and continue to fill) our lives with love and excitement. Sure there are challenges, and there are sacrifices to be made, but right from the start our attitude needs to be that these little bundles wrapped up in tiny blankets are a blessing, and we need to believe and expect that they will continue to be a blessing even as they grow up. They are a gift from God that we need to treasure every day because [WARNING: cliché coming up]… “they grow up so fast”.
Today, as we celebrate Children’s Day, we hold a Children’s Service planned entirely with children in mind. We want to not only show the children that they are a blessing by having a church service focused on their needs, but we also want to remind every parent, every adult, every person who will one day be a parent, that children are a gift from God.
Proverbs 17:6 says “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Psalm 127:3,5 says, “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him… Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”
Instead of being a burden, children are in fact a blessing. Certainly we need to take care of them, we feed them, we look after them, we make sacrifices for them, we teach them the ways of God, but ultimately, like everything else that is in our care, they come from God and they belong to God. They are not ours. They belong to Him. And somehow, in God’s wisdom, He entrusts us with the littlest members of His family and calls them a blessing.
What God considers a blessing, may we never turn into a burden.