Thinking biblically about children

2 Oct

I thought we could talk a little over the next few days about children.

I have nine.

And even where I live in Africa, that gets me some surprised looks. Usually people don’t believe me when I tell them. And while I definitely don’t think every one needs to have that many children and what’s more I definitely don’t think every one even should, I am really glad I do.

I feel like I am the richest poor man you will ever meet.

And you know, that’s just not something I believe because of personal experience, it’s also something I am convinced the Scripture teaches.

Children are a gift from God.

That’s one of the first things you need to understand if you are going to think about children biblically.

We see how important children and families are to God in the very first command in the very first chapter in the entire Bible which is “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.”

We see what value God places on children in passages of Scripture like Psalm 127 and 128 where the Psalmist says that children are a blessing from God Himself.

We get an idea of how great a blessing when read of stories in the Bible like Abraham’s.

If you know anything about Abraham, you know that he was a very wealthy man. God Himself appeared to Abraham and entered into a special relationship with him. These are awesome privileges and yet when God declared that He would be Abraham’s great reward, you know how Abraham responded to God?

He responded by saying to God, “What will you give me, since I go childless?”

Despite all his riches and the privilege of this relationship with God, Abraham felt he was poor because he lacked children and one big exciting part of the blessing that God promised to Him (apart from redemption and salvation of course) was children and grandchildren.

It is simply not normal biblically to look at children as a curse or even a bother.

I will even take this a step further.

Because there are some who see children as a blessing in theory, they are glad when children are born, but they look at children as a burden in practice, in other words they don’t like when children are around and don’t really want to spend time with them.

In fact there are some who seem (especially in my part of the world) to think that important people, distinguished people, powerful people don’t get close with their children, and as a result, they stay reserved and don’t really relate to children. But when God became man that was not His attitude.

You are not more important than God, no one is, and yet when God became man, what did He have to say to his disciples, “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them!”

Children were not afraid to approach Jesus.

One of my favorite stories about Jesus and children is in Mark 9:33-37 where Jesus comes to the disciples and asks them what they were arguing about as they had been walking to Capernaum. They didn’t want to say because they were arguing about who was the greatest. And you know what Jesus does? Jesus sits down and tells them that if they are going to be great they must be a servant, he says they must be the servant of all and after saying that you know what he does? Verse 36. He takes a child and puts him the middle of the disciples and then he picks up the child and takes him in his arms, Mark says, and he tells the disciples that whoever receives a child like this in his name receives him, which tells us at the very least that to God, the truly great man is someone who is so humble that he is willing to care and love children for Christ’s sake.

Children are a blessing from God.

We honor God when we care for them for His glory.

And I think if we are going to think biblically about children, those two truths are a pretty good place to start.

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