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Children A Blessing From God

Back to school pic 2016

       This morning, on my morning jog, I listened to Al Mohler’s podcast, The Briefing. He always has insightful news about what is going on in culture, and one of the things he mentioned was an article in the Toronto National Post titled “Children? Those shrieking, dribbling, bawling horrors? Not for me, thank you’: Why fatherhood is not for everyone and shouldn’t have to be.” In this article Calum Marsh advocates what Mohler calls “deliberate childlessness.” While we might think of noble scenarios in which a person may opt not to have children, the writer of this column does not appear to be in that category. Marsh seems to be one in a growing number who prefer to pursue pleasure above everything else. Listen to the way he describes his motivation for choosing not to have children.

"I value my lifestyle and I like to have the means to maintain it. I value my free time. I also enjoy the freedom from responsibility childlessness affords. I can’t begin to imagine the burden of not only time and money but of authority and influence, of being accountable for a human life. It’s lunacy that so many people are comfortable with it."

       It is clear then that his motivations are not noble. He is not foregoing the blessing of children so that he might serve his country or because he has some great calling on his life that children may prohibit him from being able to accomplish. He is, instead, calling bad what God has called good. He has selfishly decided that he wants his money and time to be completely devoted to his own pleasure. It is important to remember that this is not one random person on the fringe of culture, but that he represents a growing number of young adults in western culture.

       Let’s think about this from a Biblical point of view. First, in creation God gave a mandate for humanity to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1.28).” Though there are good reasons for and certain circumstances in which singleness or childlessness may be chosen to the glory of God, yet this passage shows us that God’s design is generally for men and women to marry and have children.

       Second, it is clear in the Bible that one of the characteristics of our sinful condition is to call good evil and evil good, to disdain God’s good creation order and to exalt perversions of the same. As Paul describes what he terms “the last days” he says some of the things that will characterize people is that they will be “heartless” or “without normal affections,” and that they will be “lovers of self,” “money” and “pleasure.” (II Timothy 3.1-4)  I don't believe Paul could have more accurately depicted the attitude of people like Marsh if he were writing today.

       Finally, I was struck by the contrast I saw. I listened to this podcast, and after I finished my jog I took a minute to scroll through my newsfeed on Facebook. I was immediately greeted with what is becoming a back to school tradition—countless pictures of young students dressed and ready to go for the first day of school. Accompanying these pictures is the usual lament of parents who are saddened by the thought of their children growing up so fast. I have yet to see one of these posts that says, “Another year older and I can’t wait till Junior is out of my house” or “I’m so excited that I only have to deal with this brat for another year.” No doubt parenting is difficult and there are moments when you might feel extreme frustration, yet parents seem to instinctively know what the Bible says is true. “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!” (Psalms 127:3–5)