Generation Cedar

I received this e-mail from a reader today…

Hello dear sweet Word Warrior!!

I have just heard the statement once again that REALLY drives me nuts! A young minister who has an adorable 2 yr old and a precious 4month old stated that he just couldn’t possibly have any more children in fear that it would hinder his ministry!! My head is still spinning. This attitude towards children is not just in the world, it’s in our churches as well. Isn’t the enemy a sly one– we’ve been brainwashed through years of this subtle lie. If you have time, your thoughts on statements like these would be appreciated. God bless your beautiful family!

(Mommy to 5 beautiful blessings ages 8 years to 6 months)

Ouch…our enemy is indeed sly, and it’s heart-breaking to see how he is crippling the church with such attitudes toward children.

It’s interesting to note that in Scripture (we have been reading in Exodus about the children of Israel), God uses proliferation of the godly seed as His primary means of testifying to the world about what kind of God He is. We read that the reason Pharaoh began to oppress the children of Israel, is because they were exceeding the Egyptians in number and “becoming a mighty nation”. Ironically, when Pharaoh increased their work load, the Bible says God caused them to increase even more in number. (In our day, a family undergoing “hardship” is always advised to refuse the blessing of children…after all, they would only make life harder. Hmmm…not God’s opinion.)

I think one of the reasons Christians can’t understand the ministering aspect of children and therefore view children and ministry as diametrically opposed, is because we’ve lost the vision of what a godly family should be in the first place. Done God’s way, the family (including all of its children), is the most powerful ministry tool in the Kingdom!

Segregation of children and parents (school, church, activities, etc.), the heavy influence of peers due to segregation, the demands of parents to “keep up” with those peers, and all the distracting elements of our society have chiseled away at what a godly family once was. The world looks on the Christian family and sees little difference than their own family. Children do not obey and honor and reverence their parents, husbands and wives aren’t portraying the picture of Christ and His bride, WE LOOK TOO MUCH LIKE THE WORLD TO HAVE ANY IMPACT!

So, we have to “do ministry”…and that means working ourselves to death in programs, more activities, more groups, more, more, more! Children hinder that self-work!

There was a time when a godly home was the primary way Christians ministered to others. God’s way is always the right way. When a family obeys the Scriptural mandate (being fruitful and multiplying, and then bringing up those children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord), the Lord can miraculously use that family to disciple the lost without their having to “create” ways to do it.

Lost people come to the Lord because they see something different, and peaceful, and wonderful–something they don’t have. Love can no better be shared than through simple hospitality–or sometimes when you least expect it. If you want a “unique” opportunity to share Christ with someone, just go to Wal-Mart with more than 3 kids in tow!

I might add here, that the Lord has chosen to withhold children from certain couples. Perhaps He has prepared a work for them that a large family is not equipped for. That’s the beauty of His sovereignty…we don’t have to manipulate our ministries (or our wombs!) to fulfill the Great Commission. Obedience brings about discipleship the Lord’s way.

And I didn’t even mention the exponential factor of raising up godly children who will raise up more godly children, etc.! If we were giving life to the godly seed, while the rest of the world is killing or preventing theirs, our “evangelizing” army would be colossal!

19 Responses

  1. Your closing statement says it all. We (Christians) are the SALT of the earth. We need to procreate and multiply so more souls can be reached. But alas, there in lies the problem!! So many parents don’t want to put in that time and work to train their children in God’s ways! Love your blog and loved this article.

  2. You are so right. Children are an asset to a ministry. We have 10 children and they give us opportunity to minister in so many ways – overwhelming at times. My children were imagining if all of them had 10 children then there would be 100 grandchildren. If all of them had 10 children there would be 1000! What if all of them were faithfully serving the Lord? Wouldn’t that be a tremendous blessing? Just think what the Lord could do with them.

  3. For that minister that made the comment: he may not be seeing his ministry in the same way God is, because if he does not follow God’s orders, he cannot be in God’s will for the ministry. It is again a selfish motive, with the appearance that they are motivated to help others. How can you help others while at the same time you are denying scripture and living contrary to what God has said to do? I think that again his attitude is largely a reflection of our culture.

    If you are married and both fertile, God has this design for your ministry, to increase your numbers while executing other ministry duties. Follow God, not yourself, and you will receive more joy and unexpected blessings than you had perceived on your own. Maybe the child he refuses to bring into this world would be a successor to the ministry…you can not expect everything out of your choice of one or two children, as so often happens today.

    Parents want the world and more from their precious one, two, or three, since that is all they will let themselves have. They will push them and involve them in all the things they can fit into their schedules, which in turn, takes time away from them spending time together. (This is a very destructive and strained relationship, actually.) Or else, they mostly just ignore them and let the world around them raise them up, without much concern about how they will turn out.

    This minister is saying, between the lines, that his children are not worth what he is, and that he does not expect them or any others of his own to be so.
    -B.

  4. We can not possibly begin to understand why this minister has said more children would hinder his ministry. There are many possible reasons. As a young man he may be trying to line his priorities up with what God wants them to be, he may be learning how to be a husband, father and minister and he may feel right now is not the time to to have more children. He may feel right now is the time to devote to his ministry and the family God has already blessed him with. He may be trying to get back on track with some faulty financial decisions he has made and wants to be a good steward of his finances before he has more. The man didn’t say he NEVER wants more children and we should not judge that this was his meaning. We don’t know any of his motives or his heart in this situation.

  5. You must read my post from yesterday ~ The Holy Spirit delivered the same message to us yesterday. I just love when He does things like that.

    Children are a blessing! Despite what the secular world out there thinks.

  6. Boy does this hit home. My husband just had to resign from a ministry position. Why? Well, the leadership of the ministry felt we had too many children to minister effectively. We are expecting our fifth in a few weeks. (I know I have mentioned the difficulties we’ve had on your blog before).

    It breaks my heart to leave a ministry we love and hold so dear. But if there is one thing I am sure of, it is that God has ordained each one of these children and given them to us to further His kingdom. We will not let the leadership of this ministry make us doubt that for one second. And frankly, as an evangelical organization they should be ashamed of themselves for proliferating the world’s lies. It really is best to step back and see how else God would have us serve.

    Don’t get me wrong. My husband and I battled with this decision for a long time. We didn’t want to leave. We wanted to “prove” it could be done. But once we did finally say we were resigning, God provided for us exponentially. We had to find a new home and God gave us more then we asked for (this house even has a “new” kitchen!!!).

    We’re still working out the summer. But resigning has allowed me to focus more on my children and not on the ministry. I am planning to homeschool my only school-ager. I know that’s what God wants me to do, but I never had the time because I was my husband’s “secretary.” LOL! My husband and I are no longer arguing about ministry related things. Our marriage is healthier, our children are better served. I just can’t wait to see how God works and what He calls us to next.

  7. I just wanted to add this quote. I think it applies very well to those of us who “choose” to let God control our family size:

    You will get untold flak for prioritizing God’s revealed and present will for your life over man’s…but boy is it worth it!
    Beth Moore

  8. Your comment suggests a dangerous assumption: that the wisdom of man is superior to the wisdom of God.

    You said the young man may be trying to line up his priorities with what God wants him to do…that would make God the Father of contradiction. If he is the author of life, and gives us children naturally, (remember, no where in Scripture does He even hint that we should prevent children), then children ARE a part of His priority for us.

    It would be like saying, “I’m trying to decide if I should breathe today–if it lines up with the priorities God has for me”. It’s just as natural a function as reproducing! We don’t have to decide or question it.

    Of course, it depends upon your view of God’s sovereighnty over the womb, whether you will share my perspective.

    I believe that the reproductive process is a supernatural, God-given function over which man does not have the authority to exercise
    his “wisdom”. Buying a car,taking a job, moving to a different house–those are areas in which a supernatural process doesn’t reign, and God allows us choices to be made with His guidance. But having children did not come with choices (we created those ourselves).

    The womb functions as He ordained it, and children are usually the result of the bond of marriage, without our having to make decisions about when and if to have children. Children happen. And that’s the way He designed it.

    Having access to artificial birth control doesn’t automatically make its use right for the beliver.

    Your comment assumes then, that God doesn’t understand this minister’s hypothetical situation; if He needed time to adjust to being a new father, husband, etc., and children were going to hinder that, God would not give him children. If children were a hindrance to his ministry, and he was ministering inside God’s will, God would close his wife’s womb. I don’t believe God would ever put us in the position of being forced to reject our bodies’ natural function. Seems to me if we are rejecting what God calls His very own inheritance in the name of “God’s will,we better seriously question what we’re calling God’s will.

    His will has already been given to us…”be fruitful and multiply.” Why do we make it so complicated?
    Sometimes I wonder what God makes of all our “children-are-not-a-wise-choice-for-our-family” jargon. Let’s remember the wisdom of Job’s words: “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord”!

    As always, a disclaimer would be prudent since so many different people read this blog. I am sure there are rare situations (although some would even argue this point),where a husband and wife need to carefully consider delaying the child-bearing process. (I’m thinking life-threatening, or equally serious circumstances). But generally
    speaking, I hold the above conviction.

  9. To *****************

    Thank you for your personal experience and perspective…it is true, God’s way is always the best way. And sometimes it’s hard to see until we’re on the other side of our “situation”!

  10. Traci, I agree with Word Warrior, and I think that we can understand that this minister was not prioritizing the authority of God’s direction in his life, which could be quite destructive in the ministry work that he is doing. Say he just ignores God’s word in this area first, then later it becomes easier to tune out some other things God is saying…I repeat what I said yesterday, his comment shows a self-centered and pompous attitude so far, which lacks faith in his God which he is trying to promote.
    -B.

  11. I must admit, it is much easier to criticize someone else, than it is to criticize myself! I know I need improvement in many things, too!
    -B.

  12. With God, all things are possible-He does change our minds, and He could change this minister and his wife, and later allow them to see the light that many of us already do. God changed me in my late twenties, after loosing one child. It does not have to be an attitude from birth, but in His time,…
    -B.

  13. I agree with all that has been said. But can you speak to those wives who desire more children whose husbands do not. For the last four years this has burdened my heart – my dear husband who loves the Lord is content with our two blessings and “is done.” And I agreed, before marrying him, to just two children – I was told many years ago that it would be difficult for me to even have kids, so my thought was, “Oh, Lord, if I could just have a baby at all!” DH’s heart is the same as it has always been – it’s mine that changed. We’ve talked about it, he has read & listened to talks on this topic, but still is content with just two. I cannot whine, sulk, beg, or nag my husband – that isn’t what God wants. DH knows my heart, and I know he is the head and I have to follow him – that is my call as a wife. I’ve seen/read how a disagreement in this area can tear a marriage apart, and it is the wife who is to submit to the husband. What words of wisdom can you offer women in this position? Please know that not all women out there with limited family-sizes are in agreement with the “limited number of children” crowd.

  14. Anon,

    You bring up a very important, albeit, sensitive point. I know a few women who are in your predicament, and I am sure it is very grievous for you.

    I believe though, that the Lord knows your heart as well. And your willingness to submit to your husband will ultimately bring you blessing. My belief is that FERVENT PRAYER is your “weapon” here.

    The Lord alone can change his heart, but it will most likely be done only through your submissive and gentle spirit.

    I wouldn’t think there is anything wrong with sharing information with him from time to time, as long as he doesn’t feel like you are pressuring him.

    I was moved in the direction of allowing God to be sovereign over the womb before my husband was too. I would just talk about things on my heart from time to time, and we read things together, and before long, he was being led in the same direction.

    It helps a lot if you know other families who are receiving their children, and have the opportunity to be around them.

    It’s hard to wait, but I believe with prayer and a gentlesness of spirit your husband’s heart will be turned.

  15. Kelli:

    I think Traci makes a valid point. You heard about this minister indirectly. And while I agree with many of the points you made (especially that children promote ministry, not hinder it!), I also think it’s unfair and unwise for you to attribute motives to a man who may have spoken those words in a context unknown to you.

    I understand that you are attempting to correct many of the deceptions that have crept into the church—but, I would urge caution when criticizing someone based on second-hand knowledge of what they said/did.

    That said, I do applaud you for reminding us that Godly homes are the brightest example to a lost world.

  16. Traci & Elizabeth,

    Obviously there was a slight misunderstanding in my response to the comment about the minister.

    I do not know the minister, and so of course I can’t “condemn or support” him personally. His comment was used as a representation of a common practice in ministry…the points I made were not to that particular minister. They were to the general concept that it is wrong-thinking to avoid having children for the sake of another ministry.

    I never pinpoint any one person in addressing issues in this blog; I address general trends, misconceptions and practices in an effort to overturn these “general” things in our culture. I may use one person’s comment as a springboard for that endeavor, but it doesn’t mean that I’m trying to “judge” that one person’s motives.

    I thought I had made it clear many times, that there are rare situations that may be viewed a little differently. It is an incorrect approach if you read this blog and try to make everything I say personal. And I would be exhausted if I tried to qualify everything I said to make sure I covered every little scenario.

  17. Word Warrior,

    In no way was I questioning God’s sovereignty and plan for our lives. I was just trying to point out the dangers of questioning this man’s motives and reasonings. I understand not qualifying everything said on the blog it just seemed as if this particular post was aimed a little personally at this man. You clarified that this was not your intent or your position and where you were coming from Thank you! 🙂

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