I want to show you two pictures. The first was taken in the Summer of 2007 when four couples went on a beach trip together. At that time, there was one baby in the group.
The next picture was taken in December 2010. Same four couples, nine more children than the photo taken 3 and a half years earlier.
When someone saw this second picture taken by Amanda on my phone, they remarked, “Did you notice the sign behind them? How appropriate!”
The sign was from a series that our student ministry was going through, and the thought was how fitting it was to have a picture of 10 children labeled as minefields. Humorous? Yes. Accurate? Not on your life.
In that 1st picture, the adults were younger, more refreshed than if we had been in that second picture. We couldn’t be in that second picture cause we were just trying to keep all the children focused on the camera. In 2007, we did have more time on our hands. We could go more places, do things easier, but we were missing 9 precious gifts from the Lord whom might make our lives more busy, but they also make our lives more purposeful.
In the last few years, our friends and us have received such comments as:
- “Don’t you know how this works yet?”
- “3 kids?! You’re through, aren’t you?!”
- “Do we need to get you separate beds?”
- “You must have no life now!”
These comments, while spoken in jest, reveal a cancer in our society in how we view children as a curse instead of a blessing. When we talk about how many children we should have based on how many we can afford, we have missed the point. When we talk about needing some “me” time and don’t want too many kids to disrupt our independence, we have allowed our selfishness to stunt the next generation. When we discuss getting over one hurdle or another before entering into that “stage of children,” we act like they are a project to be completed once the other pursuits have been accomplished.
God makes it clear: children are an absolute gift and should be viewed as a blessing (Ps. 127:3). God says they are like arrows in one’s hand and we are blessed if we have a quiver full of them (Ps. 127:4-5)! God tells his people to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 9:1). Why is he so desirous of big families? So that we can disciple the next generation of Christians who will follow hard after his heart (Deut. 6:4-6; Josh. 24:25; Eph. 6:1-4)!
Children are not an inconvenience, they are a part of our obedience.
I don’t know what the next picture of these four couples will look like. The Agnews, Langleys, Pendleys, and Wilsons may continue to grow by leaps and bounds. Red and yellow, black and white, till the mini-van is packed tight, we view children as gifts. We might view them with sleep-deprived eyes, but we still look at these faces, understand our responsibility, and count ourselves as blessed to partner with God to disciple this next generation.