This post owes its life to a heartbreaking article in the New York Times last Friday. Childless by Choice is a testimonial of sorts by an author who admits she chose not to have children because of her fears that she was not equipped to give a child a healthy home. One’s heart goes out to this woman, and, I am sure, many like her who are attempting to face this world bereft of any spiritual anchor in the eternal truth of God’s word, the Bible. All that is left for such belief systems is despair, or the salve of “therapy,” which seems an exceedingly small and tawdry consolation.
What does the Bible have to say about children and parenthood?
- The chief of the passages: Psalm 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
- Proverbs 17:6 Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.
- Isaiah 54:1 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.
- Psalm 127:4-5 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
To be sure, raising children is a great challenge and responsibility, but it ought to be one of the chief aims of the believers life to raise godly children for the Lord, if the Lord so blesses with children in the home. The viewpoint that looks at children as an imposition, a drain on one’s resources, a distraction from one’s own pursuits – this kind of thinking has no room in the Christian mind.
- Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Ought this not be the joyful responsibility of a believing man? Who could shrink from this task, in spite of challenges and disappointments that may come? Let us adopt the Biblical philosophy of entire devotion to God and let it find expression in a joyful life of child-rearing if God blesses us with children. And it not, may childless Christians find joy in serving the families of their local church and contributing to the growth of the children of the church through various ministries to them.
Don Johnson is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada.