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Encourage: The sacred value of a child

Recently, the Lord blessed us with a new grandchild. Our son’s dear wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Psalm 127 comes to mind every time I see new parents holding a precious bundle in their arms.

“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” (Ps. 127:3-5).

Children are valuable. The “behold” of this Psalm calls us to slow down and consider the value of each child. The value of a child is asserted on two levels.

First, as a very practical matter, your children bring value to your life. Psalm 127 reads like the wisdom literature of Solomon. As wisdom literature, it is very practical, even pragmatic. As a matter of pure self-interest, we should consider the value of a child. The quality of your life will be determined largely by the character of your children and the health of your relationship with them. Our children, properly embraced, enrich our lives. Consider the words of the Old Testament scholar Derek Kidner as he reflects on Psalm 127:

“It is not untypical of God’s gifts that first they are liabilities or at least responsibilities, before they become assets. The greater their promise, the more likely that these sons will be a handful before they become a quiverful.”

I am struck by the movement of Kidner’s thought as he considers parenthood: liability, responsibility, asset. All of the time, heart, effort and attention we pour into a child is a wise investment. If you want to die a rich man, invest in children. It pays to be a responsible parent.

This Psalm also asserts a theological motive for valuing children. This child has value because she is a gift of the Lord. The word “gift” is the Old Testament word “heritage.” It should call to mind the family allotment in the Promised Land. Our children are like God’s gift of the Promised Land to His people. The Lord is the source of this gift.

Each child is God’s grace toward us and God’s claim on us. We are called to be stewards of the good gift of children. Thus, in the end, each child has value not because they are ours but because they are His.

O Dear Father, give us grace to be a generation of people who know the sacred value of a child. Forgive our foolish neglect and stir us up to be good stewards of each gift, each child you give us.

Hance Dilbeck

Author: Hance Dilbeck

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