My brother and his wife just announced that they were expecting their third baby. (Welcome to the world of “the large family”, bro!)
Someone asked about our parents’ reaction to the news.
“Oh, they’re very excited!”
To which the (Christian) someone responded,
“They have 50 grandchildren and they’re still excited?!” (That was sarcasm, by the way; they have 14.)
We know the reality behind the joke–“more is only better if you really value the thing multiplying in your life“. Money, accolades, vacations–we can’t get enough. Cavities? No more, thank you.
We say we love children, but we don’t put our money where our mouth is.
“How do you afford all those children?” Is that question an attempt to relieve the conscience? Or do we really dislike multiplication so much we want to make the parents feel guilty? All the while, we’re borrowing money for bigger houses and get high fives for that. As Kevin Swanson says: “We LOVE drywall!”
“The very analogy of Christian marriage is to demonstrate fruitfulness just as we expect the church to multiply and fill the earth. How can we wish for our churches to grow and our families to shrink?”I’m not talking here of splitting hairs over when and if it’s ever OK to prevent children; we’re way beyond that. I’m asking, “do we share the heart of God about children or don’t we”? Do we echo what Scripture says about a growing family? We’ve got to ‘fess up to the idea that generally speaking, Christians do not act like they believe in the blessing of children, nor do they act like they believe that God is the author of life. Because once we do, it changes what we say and how we live.
If we value life over material things (to which any Christian would attest), why don’t we live like it? Or talk like it? After all, we don’t call ourselves “pro-some-lives Christians”.
“Honey! We’ve got to do something! Our watermelons are growing prolifically–I mean there’s like 15 or 20 of them! What will the neighbors say? “Isn’t it reasonable to assume that we try to accumulate more of what we value?
Conversely, it’s reasonable to assume that we try to avoid things that we don’t value, or that cause us pain. That’s why we take medication to get rid of headaches and have surgeries to alleviate unwanted ailments.
We want bigger tvs, more square footage, more cars, more vacations, more money, more free time. We will do anything for it. Work longer, harder, borrow money that isn’t ours, sacrifice relationships, even when it directly opposes the wisdom of Scripture.
“Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have.” Hebrews 13:5
We tend to ignore a lot of what the Bible says.
“Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.”
If Christians believed this, what would their response to a large family really be?
Comment after comment reveals our abhorrence of multiplying children, despite what the Bible teaches to the contrary. We love one or two; After that, they decrease in value. And not just for our own families. We abhor it in other families. I know. I’ve seen their faces too many times. I’ve heard people take the Lord’s name in vain upon hearing how many children I had. I’ve seen them look at my other children with sympathy–my children who ask almost daily, “When are we going to have another baby?” I’ve heard them question how we’ll feed them, as if they’ve never read Matthew 6. These are Christians! They all want to know if I know how to stop *it*….that “horrid multiplying of those things we don’t want more of”.
(No, it’s not just a personal choice or an issue of neutrality; what we believe about children and the womb has profound implications for a society, and those who don’t conform to the “new standard” feel that lack of neutrality like no one else. It may be easy to believe that people think of birth control as a personal choice if you’re on the “controlling” end. But those of us who aren’t know better.)
Since the Bible compares the fruitfulness of the womb to vegetation, why don’t we apply our logic there: “Honey! We’ve got to do something! Our watermelons are growing prolifically–I mean there’s like 15 or 20 of them! What will the neighbors say? ” (Hey, don’t you know what causes that?)
And to think, we talk thus of eternal, immortal souls–not watermelons–that God has graciously given from His hand to populate His Kingdom for His glory.
We don’t turn visitors away from our churches. Is it because we are really concerned with more souls in the Kingdom? Because if that IS our main concern, there should be nothing more glorious to a saint’s ears than to hear that a Christian family has received another child to bring up for His glory–a treasure stored up for Heaven!
Is not a family the basic building block of a church? The very analogy of Christian marriage is to demonstrate fruitfulness just as we expect the church to multiply and fill the earth. How can we wish for our churches to grow and our families to shrink? It’s illogical.
Yet we find every reason under the sun to avoid growing disciples in our homes–and to help others avoid it as well. Shame tactics, scare tactics, insults, “advice” about being responsible ensure that the average Christian family will cut off the godly heritage before it’s “out of control”….hmmm…sounds like the work of an enemy to me.
As I’ve suggested many times before, the burden of proof shouldn’t lie upon those who receive their children.
Excited about another child or grandchild?
“Like arrows in the hands of a warrior…”
A Kingdom-minded Christian is!