The best New Year's resolution Christians could make...

(Tim) Things are quiet here at the church-house. It's New Year's Eve and I've been doing odd jobs in between reading Christmas cards and letters that piled up the past few weeks.

Just now, I finished my second letter in a row from friends with lots of children--one family with eight and the other nine. And last night, we sat and talked through the evening with our dear friends, David and Jill Crum, who are in town to visit their six sons now living here in Bloomington. David and Jill have been blessed by God with eleven children--ten sons and one daughter.

These are happy, happy families God has used to propagate a godly seed for His Own glory. And not one of the mothers or fathers cast a longing eye at other believers who chose money, career, or status over another child. They're all poor, and they're all joyful. Trust me. (If you want to test it, send me a private e-mail and I'll put you in touch with them so you may ask them yourself.)

So here's the New Year's Resolution I'm so impertinent as to suggest, dear brothers and sisters. Why not follow these three pastors and their godly wives and dedicate this coming year to being fruitful and multiplying? To propagating a godly seed. To making love and life, both at the same time? And if you and your wife are not able to have children, take in foster children or adopt a child.

What could you expect if you did so...

First, you could expect to be sanctified. Marriage and the bearing and rearing of children is a superb school of sanctification.

Second, every other blessing you could imagine. Here's how one of my closest friends sums up the work of fatherhood as he and his wife entered their empty nest years this past year:

So why does it feel like the best part of our lives is over? And indeed, the best thing I have ever done, or am likely to do in my life, the things I hope for and feel I may have succeeded at in life is this, being a good husband to (my wife), and a good father... Nothing else I've done in life is close to being as satisfying, or as easy as that.

The last few years he was with us, Dad Bayly regularly told us that, as he looked back, the thing that gave him the greatest joy in his life was his children. Brothers and sisters, nothing comes close to the joy and rewards of being faithful in this work. So this year, raise the roof beam and spread the tent walls.

Comments

Tim,

I wholeheartedly agree. Of course I regret my sin and bitterly repent of most of it (some I have yet to be convicted regarding and I am probably not conscious of yet other sins). But my deepest regret is not having children, for all those reasons you write of here.

And now it is too late for me. I hope others will take your words to heart and not come to the day of regret I now face.

A Friend

Tim,

I love your New Year's resolution suggestion. I hope many husbands and wives take you up on it. (If I ever get married, I will.)

To A Friend,

I'm not sure of your circumstances at all, but whatever your age or sex, you can be a spiritual parent. If you are a man, then encourage your younger Christian brothers to love children, to grow in maturity and prepare to be good husbands and fathers. If you are younger, then listen to the godly, older men around you, and be a spiritual son they can take joy in. If you are a woman, then encourage your sisters in Christ to love their husbands, to keep busy in the home, and to prepare themselves to be wives and mothers. If you are younger, then find a godly woman in your church to call your spiritual mother, and become a beautiful spiritual daughter to her.

I'm sad for you, for facing the day of regret, and do hope others heed Tim's words as well. Take heart though--all is not lost. God still can use us, despite our sin!

My wife and I recently began the process of adopting two boys (now 19 months and nearly 10 months, respectively) under the care of the State who were being fostered by a family in our church (a family which already has two adopted boys and four biological girls). Though it has been a roller coaster already (we've had them in our home for about two and a half months now), we already see some of the fruits you have listed here (especially the sanctification aspect!).

We hope and pray that our two boys will grow up to love the Lord their God with all of their minds and bodies may offer Him, and that we will be parents worthy of that name, by God's grace.

I recently commented to one of my friend (who is the father of two adopted siblings, boy and girl, in addition to four biological boys) that many Christians in our day and age think of adoption the way that pagans think about marriage--they focus only upon the hardships and sacrifices, and nothing at all of the promises of God or the glory of how family adoption is an earthly metaphor for God's adoption of sinners into His family and into Christ's eternal Kingdom.

I applaud your making mention of such a vital part of Christianity's progress on your blog here.

I linked to this over at my blog. Marvelous post! A godly seed is one of the surest ways to begin to reform the church.

Being the mom of a large family we often get comments in public such as "are these all yours" and my kids are always quick to inform everyone that there are more of them who aren't present. Many times the questioner has said they wished that they had more children. One pediatrician we had was very concerned about our large family and what would I, as the mom, do when they had all grown up. I guess he thought my children were my whole life and this was a bad thing. That same Dr. told us several years later that we were good parents. I think he had been doubtful when he first met us! Hopefully we had changed some ideas of his or at least challenged them. I know he was very shocked at some of our views on life and family. In many ways the world has cheated these people out of the wonders of children by telling them children are a burden and an expense and you need to plan them. Letting the Lord plan our family has not always been easy but I will never regret it. There are just a few more wonderful little personalities in this family then there would have been if we had planned it ourselves.

Anne, in fielding that question about our six boys and four girls I once responded that the girls were from my wife's first marriage and the boys from mine. In my head it sounded very funny but the person didn't seem to get it. A joke explained kinda looses the punch.

Thank you, Peter, for your link and commendation. I appreciate it, dear brother.

Warmly in Christ,

So are you wanting reports back?

Why certainly, dear brother.

We were at the hospital to confirm yesterday the good news that we have another covenant child due in September. I'm glad this blog encourages a godly understanding of the blessing of children. Many thanks!

Praise the Lord! Never--NEVER--will men and women of God regret opening the marriage bed up to this blessing.

I join you in your joy, David.

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