I heard it again…quite a typical comment about grown children of large families:
“She was the oldest of six and felt like her mother required too much of her….so she doesn’t want many children.”
Size of family debate aside…the issue here is not the number of siblings or the work load, but rather a fundamental lesson of the Christian life that the parents failed to transmit.
The conclusion that “I had to work too hard...” does not echo the perspective of a follower of Christ. The first misunderstanding is that life is somehow not largely about work.
“And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;” 1 Thes. 4:11
The second one is that even if a work load is heavy, and even if I have a perceived sense of “suffering”, the Christian response to that is opposite the statement above.
“…We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Rom 5:3-5
Aside from an abusive parenting situation, which is NOT what I’m talking about, we have an obligation to teach our children what God’s Word says, which is counter-culture to all the messages around us. Period! Our primary responsibility as mothers, hands down, is to raise children who see every part of the world through the lens of Scripture, not through the lens of what we think feels right or seems right.
Had this young lady been bathed in the truth of God’s Word, she would have seen her Savior’s example and longed to follow it. Jesus’ life was one continuing pouring out of himself physically, emotionally and spiritually. He lived to be spent and then He told us to copy Him. There were short reprieves, yes, but probably not as much as we get each night when we sleep for 8 hours at a time.
Americans enjoy the highest level of luxury, freedom and entertainment on the planet. I submit that it’s tremendously difficult for a Christian living here to even vaguely identify with the life and suffering of so many disciples of Jesus. In the early days of Christendom, it was a good day if you survived it. What’s more…
“The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for His name.” Acts 5:41
- Am I raising my children to whine about some work load they have, or am I raising them to delight in being used up for Him?
- Am I teaching them that “to save your life you must lose it?”
- Am I reading about and pointing to the heroes of the faith for them to emulate?
- Am I teaching them to “do hard things” and rejoice in it?
- Am I demonstrating, by my life, that serving is a privilege?
- Am I framing their worldview through the lens of “esteeming others better than himself?”
Let’s not raise victims of hard work. But through joyful, consistent reminding, let’s teach them to count it a privilege to daily serve those around them!
“Mallie (3 yrs. old), you did such a great job folding that towel neatly! Are you doing your work ‘as to the Lord and not unto men’?”