Behold, Children Are a Gift of the LORD|
Dear parents, consider this question: how valuable are your children? Can you even begin to measure their value? No monetary amount could ever describe the worth of children, but the word of God does express their value in a way that every parent needs to understand. When parents comprehend just how precious their children are to God, then they can appreciate how important the responsibility of child-rearing really is, and they can carry out their stewardship with the utmost care.
To understand the worth of children, let us go back to the beginning and consider the first family – Adam, Eve, and their children. Adam and Eve brought sin into the world and suffered the consequences of it. One of those consequences to the woman was the multiplication of her pain in childbirth (Gen. 3:16). So then, are we to believe that children are a punishment for sinful parents? Actually, it is quite the opposite.
Notice what Eve said when she gave birth to her first child: "I have gotten a man-child with the help of the LORD” (Gen. 4:1). Eve attributed the birth of her son to the power of God. She did not consider the child to be a punishment, even though she suffered the pain of childbirth. She exemplified the words of the Lord in John 16:21: "Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.” Rather than dwelling upon her experience in childbirth as a punishment, she embraced her child as a gift from God. Eve expressed this same sentiment again when she gave birth to Seth, for she said, "God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel; for Cain killed him” (Gen. 4:25).
Eve’s words reflect an understanding that all parents should have about their children. This understanding is stated beautifully in Psalm 127:3-5, which is a passage worth memorizing for every parent. Here it is:
"Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they shall not be ashamed, when they speak with their enemies in the gate.”
Indeed, children are a gift and a reward from God to parents. In the King James translation of this passage, the word "heritage” is used instead of the word "gift.” In the original language of the Psalms, this word literally means "inheritance.” Each child is an inheritance from God to his or her parents. This places children in a category with some other tremendously valuable things that are also classified as inheritance from God – eternal life (Matt. 19:29), His promises (Heb. 6:12), the blessings of heaven (1Pet. 1:4), etc. Dear parents, that is how valuable your children are!
Of course, you don’t need me to tell you that your children are valuable. You know this better than anyone because you love them more than anyone. However, you must also know what it means to treat your children as a precious gift and a valuable inheritance. Each child must be viewed as a treasure of potential that God has entrusted to you. What will you do with this treasure? If you are not careful and deliberate about the way you raise your children, you could be like the prodigal son, who thoughtlessly wasted the inheritance from his father (Luke 15:13). Needless to say, this is no way for a faithful Christian to handle the heavenly Father’s inheritance. Instead, Christians need to be good stewards of God’s precious blessings.
How can you be a good steward over God’s inheritance? Notice Psalm 127:3-5 again and think about the symbols of the arrows and the warrior. "Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them…” In this figure, you, the parent, are the warrior, and in your hands are the arrows, your children (the more, the better!). You can aim them at any target you choose. You may choose targets of worldly value – love of wealth, prestige, fame, athletics, etc. – or you may choose spiritual targets for your children – love of God and man, faith, virtue, righteousness, etc. Obviously, a good steward of God’s inheritance will choose targets that conform to God’s will. It is your responsibility to aim your children at the right targets.
Again, dear parents, consider the question: how valuable are your children? God’s word assigns them the highest value by describing them as an inheritance from God. Therefore, raise your children in a way that honors the inheritance of God as a precious treasure for which you are the sole stewards. If you will do this, then you will be an equally valuable blessing to your children, and your Father in heaven will reward your faithful service as parents.
Stacey E. Durham
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