A few Sundays ago, I shared a message called “Generational Hand-Me Downs.” In it, I talked about God’s call to be fruitful and multiply. I knew this would raise a couple of eyebrows. I did get one email question concerning that comment. I thought I would share with you my response.
As far as the message goes, I was worried about mentioning it as a side point since the danger of someone hearing something I didn’t intend, but I thought it was still important. The main point is this: God must be included in the conversation concerning children. Too often, parents just talk about having children based upon convenience or lifestyle. We rarely ask God his desire concerning the number of children in our homes.
In Jeremiah 29:6, the prophet told the people in exile to “Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.” While there are other biblical mandates for multiplying greatly (the first time as early as Gen 1:28 – “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth”), this one in Jeremiah is particularly interesting. God’s people were living in a pagan culture. God’s instructions to have many babies were simple – to avoid extinction in a pagan culture, you must have a lot of babies.
Take America for example, if Christians don’t have many children in this generation, how many Christians will there be to vote for President, hold pivotal jobs, and leverage influence in the culture? We will be outnumbered. That is starting to happen now. It is actually already started the trend significantly in Europe and is happening in America as well.
When I mentioned lifestyle, it is very simple. When people talk about how many children they can afford, what exactly are they trying to afford? Are they trying to have kids and a beach house and the best cards? Are they only wanting to have enough children that they could send to cheerleading camp and get a personal car for? No one should irresponsibly continue having children if they can’t provide for their needs, but parents must ask God what the true “needs” are.
As far as those adults who cannot have children naturally, that does not mean that God does not intend them to leave a legacy. Someone can have an impact on those children who are in unfortunate circumstances via being a teacher, mentor, coach, or friend.
Finally, anyone wanting to be a parent can do so through adoption. Adoption is not second-rate parenthood, and God calls us to care for orphans (James 1:27). He is adamant about the church caring for those children who do not have parents. Statistics vary, but there are supposedly somewhere between 50 million and 200 million orphans in the world today. My wife and I decided when we got married that we would be parents. It did not matter if it happened biologically or through adoption, we would care for some children.
How many children? I don’t know. I think it is a step at a time, but I think we must always ask God his opinion concerning these gifts from the Lord (Psalm 127:3).