Friday, February 12, 2010

How full is your quiver? -Psalm 127:5a

"Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!" -Psalm 127:5a

Solomon just finished comparing children to arrows in the hands of their warrior-parents. And then he throws in this statement which should challenge all of us who live in America today. Solomon in simple language is saying that it is a blessing to have lots of children.

Do we think that way? Or do we see large families as sort of old-fashioned, unrealistic, and unaffordable? When we see families like the Duggars, who have 18 children, what goes through our minds? "Thank God, I don't have that many kids!?" Or do we think, "How blessed are they to have so many amazing creations of God?"

The average family size in America has steadily decreased for decades now. There are a variety of factors that contribute to this according to sociologists, but I can't help but think that a large part can simply be attributed to a general change in our national attitude toward children. We don't see them as a valuable gift of God any longer. We don't see them as a blessing. We wait longer in our lives to try to have children (sometimes into our mid-thirties and even beyond, while people used to have children in their early twenties), and some people don't even want to have children, period. We are tempted to see them as an inconvenience and think of them in terms of what they'll cost us.

Take a person named Lisa, who is mentioned in an article you can read by clicking here, for example. She says, "I like my house in order. I don’t like a lot of noise or chaos in my home. I like my stuff in order. I don’t want kids the same way some people say they don’t want a cat or dog. I don’t want the responsibility and I don’t want to give up my financial independence. I don’t want to be a parent the same way I didn’t want to be a doctor – it just didn’t interest me enough." Read that again, and let the shock of it sink in. She thinks of children the same way she would of a pet or a career path she found undesirable. They are optional. Certainly not important or a blessing.

Now I'm guessing none of you who read this blog would make such an outrageous statement. But can you see how you might have subtly started to adopt some similar views on a surface level? Have your decisions about child-bearing (whether to have kids, when to have kids, how many kids to have) been based on biblical principles, or have they been largely based on finances and a desire to maintain a certain lifestyle? Let me say, I'm not suggesting that every family should just have as many children as biologically possible (or through endless adoptions). What I am saying, however, is that in general our families--even as Christians--are unnecessarily small.

In the very beginning, God gave Adam and Eve a command to "be fruitful and multiply," to "fill the earth and subdue it." Particularly as Christians, who have been reconciled to our Creator through Christ, we should be reminded of our responsibility and privilege of raising up families. Of course, we should give pause to having another child if we're already bankrupt. And of course, we should never absolutely sink our families financially to adopt a child. We should not be reckless. But, can we honestly justify having no children or only a certain number of children because of reasons like "I still wanna have fun while I'm young," "I can't afford this huge car payment already, let alone with another kid," or "There's no way I can pay for another kid's college," etc.? Let's be responsible, yes. But also, let's be willing to set aside our selfish desires for "freedom" and certain luxuries (like nice cars, big houses, fancy vacations, etc.)--in order to receive the blessing of additional children.

Here's to filling our quivers with arrows. Here's to raising up families that are full of children. What a blessing we often willingly miss out on.

No comments: