“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain…Behold, sons are a heritage from the Lord, children are a reward from Him.” (Psalm 127:1, 3)
One of the things that our generation has lost sight of is the fact that children are a gift from God. Blinded by our own biotechnology, we have come to think that we, and not God, can bestow or take away the gift of life. However, Solomon warns us in Psalm 127 of the foolishness of thinking that we are masters of our own destiny. It is simply not true that we can accomplish anything through our own powers and insight.
This is especially so with children. This is such an important matter that Solomon grabs our attention by prefacing his words with an exclamation, “Behold!” It’s as though he grabs us by the collar and says, “Hey, pay attention! This is important. Do you realize that children are a heritage from the Lord”? The word, ‘heritage’, is a significant term. It refers to an inheritance or an assignment. When it’s used in its verbal form, it suggests the idea of giving or bestowing something upon someone. Children, in that sense, are an assignment from God to us.
There are a number of important implications in referring to children as an assignment or gift. The first one is that children don’t belong to us; they belong to God. Some parents think that they actually own their kids, but they don’t. All our children are on lease from God. At some stage in the future they will pass from our control and when they do, the test of whether we have been good parents is whether we have regarded them as God’s gift and sought to raise them for Him. Although we can’t be sure that every one of our children will serve the Lord, it’s our job as parents to remember that our children are borrowed from God to be raised for Him. We are not meant to raise them in our image; instead, we should raise them in the image of Christ.
Second, we are to remember that our children, even the ‘hell-raisers’, are a ‘reward from Him’. Some parents look at their children simply as blessing from Peter Costello – a $5,000 reward for doing their duty for their country! Others look at them as a means of additional income through family allowance and child endowment. Others treat them as a burden – an unwelcome interruption to their soaring career ambitions. But God says that children are a gift from Him; He gives them to us so that we can raise them for Him and grow in grace and holiness ourselves. Children belong to God and it’s our privilege to help them discover their callings and live for the Lord.