As with everything in America's history, we've come a long way in a short time. Sometimes that's good, but in the case of our families, it has gone horribly bad. So now what do we do? Get back to the basics; go back to the beginning. In the words of Ken Ham, Back to Genesis. Chapter one, verse twenty-eight to be exact, the very first commandment in the Word of God, one that modern Christianity has very much forgotten and forsaken - Be fruitful and multiply. Now, I am not advocating bigger families is the cure for our ills; but I am saying that a desire for children is a sure sign things are on the right track. Let me explain. What has been the purpose of this poll? To alert people to a serious problem, not just in our churches, but in our nation as a whole. What is this problem? Well, I think the previous chapters have illustrated it pretty clearly( not that we're great writers, but our subject has really written itself ), our children as a whole are going, going, and some are just gone. Even those still among us are not really with us. Honestly, I don't blame them. Would you want to be where you are not wanted? Wait a minute! How can you say that? Easy enough when many of us already have, if not in our very words, at least in our actions. This brings me back to my point about the size of our families. God has commanded us to "be fruitful and multiply"; not a suggestion, but a command. Is that the desire of the average American family? You and I both know it is not. The typical Baptist couple puts off having children, pushes off the raising their children on the church and/or school, and can't wait to be free of their children. It's not as much a matter of the number we have, as the heart that we have toward them. As with everything else, God is concerned with our heart. If I may be a bit personal for a moment; a few summers back, Shanda and I were preparing for the arrival of our third child. That summer a missionary and his family stopped and parked their camper at our church. That isn't unusual as this happens periodically at our church. But this particular missionary had a message just for me. One day as I was going about my business working at church, this missionary stopped me for a chat. ( the reason I refer to him as "this missionary" is not to hide his identity, but because he was a total stranger, not one of our supporting missionaries) Our conversation is one that I will never forget, though I unfortunately forsook for a time. He began to share with me how after having three children of his own, he and his wife decided they were "done". But he went on to say that God began to work on their hearts through preaching and his personal study, that though that was what he wanted, it wasn't necessarily God's will. To make a long story short, they went on to have several more children. I heard, but did not hear. I ignored this man of God sharing his heart with me and went on my way, thinking I knew better than he. Fast forward to the present. This past summer our pastor changed up our Sunday school schedule to really stress the family and the home. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting with my children hearing from God's Word what I could do to raise them up to serve God. One session I remember above all the others; teaching from Psalm 127, he read the following verse:
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
I must confess, though I was thankful for my children and loved them dearly, I realized then that my view of my children was not God's view of my children. I had been guilty of taking them for granted, and not fully realizing the blessing that they were. I had, at times, thought of them as burdens, and not blessings; of thinking they were here to serve my purposes, instead of to serve God's purposes. God has worked much in the hearts of me and my wife this past summer and I'm so thankful for it. We had developed a very worldly mindset regarding children and the Lord showed us our error; we have confessed it and determined from this point on to see them for what they are - on loan from God, to raise for God. How do you view your children? Is our mind transformed to God's ways, or are we conformed to the mind of the world? I am not questioning if we love our children, but rather do we live for our children? I encourage you, if you have adopted the world's mentality regarding children, humble yourself, confess it to God, and determine to leave a legacy to your children like that of Jonadab. If your children have already grown up and gone on, encourage those coming behind you to see children as God sees them. May we raise up a generation that will be an example for years to come.