The Value of a Child

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3).
When my elder daughter, Kim, was in college she accompanied me on a mission trip to Parimaribo, Suriname. After arrival and check-in on the first afternoon she and I, with a few of our group, went out on the streets of the city to stretch our legs and take stock of this new environment. A few blocks from the hotel, as we passed a group of men standing and talking to one another, a hand reached out and took hold of Kim’s arm and a young man smiled and asked me, “what will you take for her?” I smiled back and calmly replied, “I believe I will keep her, thank you.” Without further incident we continued our walk.
I still don’t know how serious the young man may have been. Perhaps he was only joking. But perhaps not. One thing is certain; I never had to make the father?daughter “be careful, don’t go anywhere alone” speech on that trip. No, two things are certain. Even if he was serious, no amount of money could have separated Kim from me. Negotiations were never begun because they were irrelevant and immaterial.
I doubt that I have to persuade many readers of how serious I am in saying that, or how true it is. We love our children. Nothing is as important to us. They are not for sale, and their needs come before any other consideration. We say these things, and for the most part we mean them. Yet, do our actions always demonstrate those convictions?
We will buy things for our children, even when we cannot really afford them, and perhaps when the children don’t really have to have what we are purchasing. We give in to their demands, spoiling them both in little things and also sometimes in more significant ways. All this is a sign of our love for them, and of their value to us.
But do we always provide for their genuine needs? We give them our money, but do we also give them our time and attention? Are not these far greater needs? We provide for their meals and their education, but do we “bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4)? They wear the latest fashions, but are they spiritually adorned (1 Timothy 2:9)?
Perhaps it is time for us to remember that our children do not belong to us alone, but also to God who gave them. They have great value in his eyes, just as they do in ours. Jesus warned,
“Whoever receives one little child like this receives me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:5,6).
Our children are a great blessing. But they are also a great responsibility. We must be as careful with their souls as we are their physical safety. And we must be attentive to all their needs, especially those of a spiritual nature.

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