I don’t know if I’ve confessed this before, but I’m no lover of math. In fact, I successfully got around my required Calculus credit for my bachelor’s degree by taking Applied Statistics for Social Sciences. That was surely an answer to prayer! Now, my friend and church brother Guy Buckner is all about math. I think he even sees the world in binary code, much like Neo did in the Matrix. But my mind just doesn’t work that way.
However, there have been two math inequalities that have gripped my attention for some time now. Do you remember inequalities from math class? Here’s an example: 5 > 3. It says that 5 is greater than 3. Here’s another example: 10 < 15. It says that 10 is less than 15. Picture the greater than/less than symbol as the open mouth of an alligator. The alligator always eats the bigger number. Pretty simple, right?
Here’s one inequality that has gripped me lately:
Babies are greater than dollars. It’s absolutely true! Have you ever thought about it in that way? Oh sure, you wouldn’t trade the children that you already have for all the money in the world, but have you decided to not have any more children based upon your desire to live in more financial comfort? Maybe you don’t have children yet, but as you and your spouse talk, is the conversation laced with finances?
I’ll never forget the conversation that my wife and I had with our anesthesiologist right before the birth of our second child. As she was prepping my wife, she began to ask questions.
“Is this your first child?” she asked.
“No, this is our second child. We have a two-year-old son as well,” my wife responded.
“Oh, well, I guess this will be it for you two then, huh?”
My wife said with a smile, “No, we’d like to have a few more. We’ve talked about maybe having four or six kids.”
The anesthesiologist’s eyes got really big with surprise, and she sharply interrogated us, “Do you know how expensive it is to raise a child?”
She went on discussing how she, even on her anesthesiologist’s income, could only afford one child. “I want her to have every opportunity,” she declared smuggly.
Needless to say, the lady rubbed me the wrong way. I’m not sure if she was a Christian or not, but that’s certainly not biblical thinking. I used to think the very same way. I used to be more of a student of Americanism than Scripture, but when I began to study the Bible, a different worldview suddenly began to emerge as I let my mind be shaped by passages like Psalm 127:3-5, 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 will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate. It’s clear to me now: babies are greater than dollars.
Here’s the other inequality that I’ve been meditating on:
Without a doubt, children are often inconvenient. There’s no more jumping in the car for a road trip on a whim with your spouse because you have to pack half your house to take with you or find a babysitter. There are plenty of sleep-deprived nights. There are snotty noses, poopy diapers, vomit, and “Hey, Dad…Hey, Dad…Hey, Dad…Hey, Dad!” a million times. You are often pushed to your emotional limits.
Sure, children are inconvenient, but were we put on this earth to fulfill our convenience? The Bible says not. You have been created with a mission in mind, which is to glorify God throughout the earth. That’s why God told Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it. Bearing and raising children bring God glory. Babies are greater than convenience.
Friend, I have to testify that God has really changed my mind and heart over the years concerning children. Convenience and dollars are lower in value to me now than they used to be.
Please do not hear me say that every couple should be trying to maximize the number of children they can bear. Neither am I saying that you are more holy if you have more children. I’m just saying, have the attitude toward children that God has. Whether by birth or by adoption, they are a great blessing and great reward. Far greater than dollars or convience!
Thank you, Father, for the gift of my children! Check out an older blog post of mine which points out 25 ways children are gift from God.
My wife and I had nine children. However, I do not recommend that many for anyone and on the other hand I do not regret it. In fact, I rejoice in it.
Our family was, and is, second only to my faith in God through Jesus Christ. We have given our children “every opportunity”. They are all believers in Jesus as are their spouses (eight of them are married) and now I am happy to report they are personally winning their chidren, my grandchildren to Christ. Just for a little testimony there will be 21 (yes, twenty-one grandchildren by the end of this month of September).
Seven of them have completed their college educations and three their masters. Two have completed vocational schools in the medical field and ALL are very well employed in fields that I am proud of.
One daughter-in-law and two sons-in-law have completed college, two of whom hav a masters and one just completed his doctorate in August.
One of my sons has served in the U.S. Army and one of my sons-in-law will complete his 20th year in the army sometime this year (2010) and has just retuned from his second tour of duty in Iraq. He also served in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s. One grandson is in the army now and two others are in college (one working on his masters and the other a sophomore).
They are all active in their local churches (that may be the best) with their families.
This doesn’t make me better or more holy either. Financially it didn’t make sense I confess. I also can’t say that we planned it that way, but to have not been willing to fill up a quiver or two would have not been correct and the blessing of some pretty good citizens (spiritual and civic) would have been a shame.
So to end this long statement let me say to be able to afford children isn’t just a financial decision, it is a time and value issue that I am glad that we invested in. We and they, learned to live in a way that required trust in God and dependence upon His sufficiency. I really like that. And, by the way, when I remarried after my wife died in 1989 my present wife already had two children. They count also. I had to buy a new quiver (yuck, yuck).
LOL! Excellent comment, Bill. What a positive difference in the world Christian parents can make through raising godly children! Praise the Lord for how He carried you all through. I’m sure there were lean times, but as you said, you learned trust and dependence upon God. It certainly seems that your children have been like arrows in your hand. May your testimony be an encouragment to others!