Dec
26
2011

Were Children Blessings to Jesus?

You know where we’re coming from. We love children. They’re blessings. Always. And we encourage couples to view them as blessings, too, welcoming children into their home. We’re convinced God has called us to such a lifestyle, and we believe He is calling others, perhaps you. A lot of what we post about attempts to encourage you to overcome the common misunderstandings of the lots-of-children lifestyle. Some of the misunderstandings are commonplace and understandable, others outrageous.

We got a doozy not too long ago. Someone tried to argue that Jesus took away the old law of “be fruitful and increase in number” (Gen. 1:28, etc.). Instead, he argued, God gave us the freedom to choose our family planning. “Modern medicine allows us to choose contraception,” he told us. “And God has given us modern medicine. Therefore, we are given the free will to choose.” This person was an ordained minister.

It seemed this pastor was oblivious that the argument that he gave was the exact same argument that has justified abortion, euthanasia, eugenics, and every other hideous, life-killing option in so-called modern medical practice. In the name of science, killing and manipulating life is valued. He just rattled off his reasoning, apparently not giving it much thought. We can’t help but wonder how many young couples he preached this to, couples who may have been receiving the honest conviction from God to love another child.

This is what was most disappointing: the pastor built his argument on the assumption that children were a burden. We’re “free” from having to have children. The “burden” is lifted from us. Also disappointing: not one piece of Scripture was given to back up his advice. It was totally based on his own personal belief, flashing his pastor-badge to validate his claim.

Scripture says the opposite. Children are a total blessings, sometimes not fully realized until you have them, just as it said in the Old Testament. The New Testament backs up the Old, no change in worldview at all. Consider these verses:

A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.
—John 16:21

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
—Matthew 18:1-3

See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
—Matthew 18:10

When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
—Mark 10:14

But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
—1 Timothy 2:15

So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander.
—1 Timothy 5:14

Did Jesus view children like this pastor? We’ll more fully answer that question tomorrow. For now, we’re pondering how prevalent such a view is among Christians. Have you come across pastors like this one? Post your comments below, we’d love to hear from you.

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • Jessica

    When we were engaged and the Lord had put this issue on my (future) husband’s heart, we talked with our pastors and professors from our Christian college, people whom we respected, and the answers were always the same. God has given us free will and discernment to be in control of our reproduction. No one ever talked about whether we should use birth control, just what type. Needless to say, God works harder in the heart than man’s opinion and we went with what God put on our heart, that we were to let him plan our family. Here we are almost 6 years into marriage and getting ready to give birth to baby number four and we have been so thankful for the decision He led us to. Children are a blessing and we have more freedom by letting God bein charge instead of ourselves.

    • Raine

      “Here we are almost 6 years into marriage and getting ready to give birth
      to baby number four. . .”

      Babies are not numbers. Would you like to be called “wife number one”?

      • Susan

        I don’t think she meant it that way … it’s not wise in a public forum to post children’s names.

        • CC

          Baby number 6, number 7. . . it’s like the children are collectible dolls instead of people. Is the quantity of children the most important thing?
           

          • jenny

            Would you post all your children’s names on here? 

            • Bob3

              The Jeubs do. Pictures, too.

          • Jesfrs

            CC – I think it’s funny that you can’t argue the substance of anything Jessica said, so you attack her for something so ridiculous. That seems to be the case often with people when they are convicted about something.

            • CC

              Ridiculous? I wonder how their sixth child enjoys being referred to as “Baby Number 6,” like a car or something.

              If I wanted to argue with Jessica (I don’t), I’d say this–you cannot “give” God control over anything. He is omnipotent. It is the height of arrogance to say “I’m giving control to God.” He already has control. If He wants you to have a baby, you’ll have one, no matter what type of pill you take.

              • Delilah

                Assuming GOD would bless u when u are actively denying his will is arrogant.

              • CC

                Actually, it happens every day. Women get pregnant while using birth control. They are “denying His will” yet they are still blessed.

              • http://www.facebook.com/tsfehler Travis Stephanie Fehler

                my littles love being “Number FIVE!” – we practice counting before we leave from home or go anywhere – so it’s more a way of feeling like you’re part of the team, and not going to be left behind.  Hard to understand if you’re not part of the family, i think.  Children respond to how you treat them…  Mine also won’t tell you “what grade they are in” – instead, they’ll tell you how old they are (we’re homeschoolers and work ahead sometimes)

      • roddma

        Just think of the tax refunds they get. Take away the benefits and people will start haivng fewer kids.

        • Susan

          And perhaps one of their children will be a future awesome musician, scientist, missionary, etc or simply care about those around them and make a difference in people’s lives.   Children are a nation’s most valued resource … this will become more obvious over the next few years.

          • Hena

            Maybe. But this is more likely to happen to children whose parents had time, money, and resources. I don’t see the older Duggar children accomplishing anything that unique.

            • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

              Hena, I think you’re missing the point. Every child is a blessing. You (nor anyone) should cast judgment on whether some children are worthy of importance over others. Susan is spot on: Children ARE a resource. All of them. Not the contrary.

              And the Duggars won’t accomplish anything unique? Oh please, that’s about as judgmental as you can get. To rebut, here’s something that didn’t get much fanfare on tv gossip sites: See here

              • Hena

                She was saying that large families are more likely to produce spectacular artists or musicians or scientists. I said that was less likely if the family didn’t have the resources to educate them. And look at the Duggars. They have not educated their kids to be artists or musicians or scientists and. . . .they children are not any of these things.

                The Duggar kids are not shaking up the world with their accomplishments in art, music, science or any other field. There are reasons to have kids, but expecting them to seize the world and cure cancer is not one of the reasons.

              • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

                Come on, now. Susan said children are resources to the world they come into. She didn’t say have children because the children may cure cancer. 

              • Susan

                I did not say they would be MORE LIKELY to become anything in particular … only that some of the children may pursue these careers … young people can get student loans if their parents can’t afford the schooling they prefer.  And I have a 23 year old daughter who is an extremely talented artist … this does not require a degree … just lots of practice and some talent. 

              • Ladyaramina10

                I think that girl’s parents are pretty happy with what those Duggar boys accomplished.

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      That is really interesting, Jessica. Thanks for commenting! When God wins over your heart, there is victory, and life is better and better.

  • Sheila

    Hi Chris and Wendy,
                                  I have not heard a pastor say anything like this but then again I don’t remember this subject being talked about in church.
                                  I live in the UK and I have heard many negative statements about large families, even from other christians. I have two children aged 19 and 14 and was nearly 30 before I had my first child. Now I consider myself to be quiverful minded and think that children are a great blessing and often wish that I had more children. From a young child I loved babies and used to love holding them.If a neighbour had a baby I was always helping feeding them and dressing them. I used to cut pictures of babies out off catalogues and always dressed my dolls in real baby clothes.
                                 Large families are the exception here but I do have a friend with 17 children. They also homeschool their children which is unusual here. I homeschooled my youngest son for a while after withdrawing him from public school.
                                   The main objection that  I have heard to having a lot of children is that it isn’t fair on the older ones to have to help look after the younger ones. It seems that people want to raise spoilt,self-centred children rather than raise them to love their siblings and serve each other in love. They don’t value the concept of a servant’s heart.
                                   I also know many women,including christian women,who cannot wait to get back to work after having their baby which I find very sad indeed. I stayed at home from the time my first son was born and would not have missed seeing my children grow up for all the money in the world. Children are often seen as career interrupters and women limit their family size in order to earn more money. I believe the memories of my boys when they were small could never be compared to money.
                                  It is a sad fact that money and things are seen as more desirable than God’s blessing of children. I pray that the hearts of those who read this blog and others like it would be radically changed.
                                   Keep up the good work sharing the message of love.

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      We run into these objections, too. The one on older children typically come from parents who have just one or two — they just don’t understand life any different than how they’re raising their children. The job interrupter one is interesting. The majority of our friends are homeschooled or 1-income families. It just isn’t on their minds, and the joy they have in their family lives makes it kind of silly to bother themselves with idea that children interrupt any would-be career outside the home.

    • roddma

      OF course they limit their families.Babies are not toys you can throw around. they need their bellies filled and clothes to wear.Then you actually have to raise them.It is sad when people are obsessed with babies they lose reality.

      • Susan

        I have always been a stay at home mom … and had 5 children … and would have had more (but didn’t get pregnant after that) … that does not mean I am obsessed with having babies.  My husband didn’t make a lot of money but it was consistant and I made it stretch to more than cover our needs.  We had a house, vehilcle, clothes and plenty of food.  We were never in debt, exept for our mortgage which we had no problem covering.  Just because we allow God to bless us with children does not make us irresponsible … it’s sad that so many today don’t seem to want God’s blessings.

      • Sheila

        I agree that children need to be fed and provided for but choosing money and a career over children is self-centred and money grabbing. Family is more important than any career.Married women should not be working outside of the home but should be making their home and family their “career”. It is God’s highest calling for a woman to be a wife and mother and should be fully embraced.
        Feminism and the accompanying career mindset has crept into the church in such an overwhelming way that men feel undervalued and confused as to their role in the family and women need to re-submit to their husbands.
        This is God’s perfect will for the family.

  • Susan

    I have been told the same thing by other Christians.  We let God plan our family and are blessed by the 5 children he gave us.  The Bible never reverses the command to be fruitful and multiply.  It is also very unhealthy to use the pill (and it may cause early abortions) … I don’t recommend them to my children as they get married.

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      And you have five children in your life that are probably pretty happy you listened to God. =)

      • Susan

        Yes Chris,   My youngest, a daughter, often tells people who question large families that she thinks everyone should have “at least 5” (since she is the 5th).  

        • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

          Sounds like a good life philosophy to me! Every child brings more blessing.

          • Julie

            If only it were as simple as that. You’ve never addressed families with abuse, domestic violence, starvation-level poverty or chronic terminal health issues. 

            • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

              You should change your perspective of children. Children do not cause these problems. And avoiding children doesn’t solve them.

              • Hena

                Never said kids cause these situations.

              • Jaye

                 Oh yes they do. There really are women out there who suffer from chronic health conditions either caused or exacerbated by many pregnancies and births. There really are people out there who live in grinding poverty because they were guilted into having more children than they have the capacity to feed or clothe. There really are families that are so overwhelmed by the demands of many children that DO abuse and DO neglect those children. They don’t have the modicum of self-awareness to even know where to turn for help or relief. And maybe they’re praying and crying out to their God, but he most certainly is not providing. You’ve been very fortunate. You are the exception, not the rule.

    • roddma

      I would tell them all they need to know about birth control because babies are huge responsibility. There is no connection to abortions and the pill. It can’t be blamed for all miscarriages since they happen regardless.

      • Susan

        Oh, I do teach them about birth control but I don’t recommend the pill and most other forms.  If you research further you will find that the pill does cause abortions in many cases.  It is also not recommended because it messes with a woman’s hormones.  Many of the younger women I know (and they are not simply connected to one church or location) who have tried it are getting off it and warning others of unwanted side effects … such as difficulty getting pregnant when they do want to finally and other issues. Yes, children are a huge responsibility … my children understand the value of each child … and they also saw God provide all that we needed as they grew up.   Having a large family is not irresponsible.

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t heard of pastors with that mindset but I truly hope there are more of them out there! My husband and I were at a couples retreat years ago and the subject of contraception came up.  A lady with tears streaming down here face explained to the pastor that she would die if she got pregnant and gave birth.  She was in such emotional pain over having to take birth control because the church viewed her as bad because she was preventing children.  All she wanted was confirmation that it was o.k. to prevent pregnancy and save her life so she could further do God’s work.  The pastor would not budge on his stance and seeing the pain this women felt broke my heart.  For me, God loves this women regardless of if she births children or not.  He does not want her to feel such pain because he created her and he has an ultimate plan for her that, obviously, doesn’t include birthing children.  Her and her husband were already on the path to adoption and I have no doubt that God is happy that they have chosen to raise children that weren’t born into a home.  

    I greatly identified with the above women because my mom had health issues when I was 3 yr olds that lead to surgery that prevented her from having more children.  Both her and my father had planned on having four kids but it didn’t happen.  She could of had one more child but it would of killed her.  My mom died when I was 22 and I thank God often that I was the only child of that relationship because I don’t know how another child would of faired.  I was raised in a physically and emotionally abusive family and the fact I didn’t turn to drugs, alcohol or other things is truly a miracle.  I honestly don’t think another child would have faired as well since I had such a internal drive to get out of that situation from a very early age.  Most likely had there been more children I would of protected them and who knows how much more abuse I would of suffered and how that would of changed my life.  I had drugs at my disposal and while I often contemplated using them I never did.  I have a feeling that had I suffered more abuse I probably would of crossed that line.

    I truly believe children are a blessing but I truly believe that people have to want that blessing.  

    • Bob3

      Wow, some people are so insensitive. I’d never listen to a “pastor” like yours, Bea

      I’ll bet if Wendy would die by having another child, the Jeubs would stop right away. I sure would.

      And should a wife in an abusive situation keep bringing more babies in the world, to be beaten and starved? Should she keep having kids and hope that praying will make the abuse go away?

      The situation is way more complicated than Mr. Jeub wants to admit.

      • Jesfrs

        Bob, you are bringing up exceptions to the ideal to try to prove that God’s ideal is wrong. No where in this post does Chris say that a woman who is being abused should pray away the abuse while staying with her husband and having children. But just because there are situations in life that require discernment, doesn’t mean that God’s original command to be fruitful and multiply was wrong! And try not to project your views on others. Just because you would stop having children if your wife was told she was going to die doesn’t mean others would make the same choice. Try to give as much grace to those couples as you are calling for here. The bottom line is, are you in an abusive relationship? Is your wife being told she will die? If not, then what is God saying to YOU through His Word about children?

        • roddma

          Why are women of Patriarchy set up to be sacrificial lambs? It is no where in the Bible. “Be fruitful” written during a time when Earth had 3% of the population it is now and the longevity was half. When Christ came, he freed us from Mosaic laws, if I’m not mistaken. This isn’t saying children aren’t blessings but we aren’t saved by Mosaic laws.

          • Susan

            I don’t feel like I sacrificed anything to have my family.  No career I could have chosen would have been more fullfilling than raising my kids.  Christ didn’t come to set us free from the Mosaic Law … He came to set us free from sin.   Having children doesn’t save us … only Jesus can do that.  Why would anyone want to limit God’s blessing on your life ?

            • Chantila

              I think they’d want to limit God’s blessings so they can take good care of those blessings.

              Food is also a blessing, and you die if you don’t set limits with that.

              • Susan

                You don’t need to limit God’s blessing regarding children … it is God who supplies all of our needs.   Much of the poverty in our world is the result of polical and selfish greed … not the number of babies being born.

    • Jesfrs

      There is so much here….Bea, yes, that pastor was very insensitive to that woman. We must give grace to others that when they are in these circumstances we love them and encourage them. However, a pastor giving grace and love to a woman who has been given a death sentence is vastly different than a pastor who views children as a burden. We must also be certain that the encouragement we give is Biblical. It does no good if we encourage someone and make them feel better, but we have caused them to stray into worldly thinking rather than Biblical thinking. I have a friend who has 14 children. The doctors have told her that she is surely going to die if she has more – although that was 8 children ago. She is still very much alive. You say that this woman needs to be alive to “carry on God’s work.” While I don’t pretend to know the will of God for this woman I’ve never met, I know personally that for me, the will of God is to bring children into this world who love and serve Him. If I lay down my life in that process, then to God be the glory. Be very careful when you say things like God’s plan for this woman obviously doesn’t include birthing more children because He wouldn’t want her to suffer pain. That is not Biblical. God does not call us to a pain free life, and His plan for each of is not based on the road least painful. God orchestrates painful circumstances in our lives to draw us to Himself, to glorify Himself, and for our ultimate, eternal joy, which is not the same as our temporal, earthly joy. You seem to have a very small view of God. He is all powerful, He is sovereign over all, and He is never taken by surprise. The fact that you didn’t turn to drugs or alcohol in your life has very little to do with you, and everything to do with the grace God has shown you.

      • Anonymous

        While only Chris and Wendy have read the whole email that the pastor sent them, nowhere in what Chris posted has the pastor saying anything about children being a burden.  What is quoted is that we have been given choices which I highly believe.  We are not all called to the same thing.  My husband and I have four children and we know with absolutely certainty that we are done and God is completely fine with our choice.  We are in the process of becoming foster parents and we feel that is our calling right now.  

  • jenny

    IMO, there is a big difference between contraception and prevention of pregnancy.   Prevention has been around a long time, years ago women used leaves soaked in vinegar as a barrier prevention and also the timing of fertility.  There are many barrier methods available today as well and at times they are needful, that saying, I do believe that children are a blessing as well!   
      Many of the contraceptions used today are wrong in that they alow conception to take place and they either destroyor does not allow the embryo to implant, this is messing with the gift of life.

  • http://thepassionatehomeschooler.blogspot.com/ Pam

    Just pondering this aloud. There may be times when we put something to prayer, and really desire God’s will–and sometimes the answer in one home is a bit different than in another home. True? But it is clear; we are to love the children God puts in our lives. And we are all guilty of not always loving them enough–our own and other peoples’. Because this world is messy and our days are busy, and our flesh is strong… and sometimes we forget the really important things.

    The Jeub’s message is not so much ‘You must have a large family’, but this: ‘We want you to experience a life that has much to do with loving children.” That’s my take on it. And how we do this plays out as we set it before God. He may surprise us and give us 16 children and ability to love them all creatively and sufficiently. Or He may surprise us and give us two, and proceed to nudge us to reach out to children that are not our own flesh. We need not worry about the details though. Or the numbers. God will help us love when we ask!

    My husband and I have learned a little something about faith and about giving God the decision about what our family should look like. Do you know what it was? That such a ‘decision’ is really too HUGE for us to make without fervently seeking and trusting God. Because there will be regrets if certain decisions about ‘family size’ are made by someone who really can’t see the whole big picture, or if they are not really careful, confident, or wise. Decisions that may be irreversible. Decisions that may later bring heartache or regret: like if we didn’t love well, or if we choose something easier, or if we said no to those He wanted to bring into our lives. We just can’t know what God wants for us..without His help. And then with His help we trust Him either way. If He says no, we embrace contentment and ask Him who we can show love to. And if He says yes, we equally embraced contentment, and keep growing in the love for those He has given. But we never stop looking for ways to love people, right? And that is the message on these pages. There is so much peace in trusting God with the big decisions, and there are no regrets when He has been our Counselor.

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      You hit the nail on the head, Pam! Great comment.

  • Jesfrs

    Like Jessica below, my husband and I got the same responses from pastors and Bible college professors. I have many friends now that are both in that denomination we used to be a part of, as well as PASTORING in that denomination who feel exactly this way. That God has given them “freedom” to choose in this area and many others that are spoken to in scripture. When we left to search out a new church, we had no idea there were others out there who looked at things differently. My opinion is that it goes back to this idea that God would never want us to suffer or have to do anything “uncomfortable.” Often God is viewed as a genie in the sky who exists to make life as easy as possible so we can “enjoy” our lives and worldly pleasures. Or minister in “freedom.” What is missed is that what is hard is often what brings the greatest blessing. That when we suffer, we are drawn closer to our Savior. That God’s ways are higher than our ways, and often man cannot comprehend that when we follow His ways rather than the world’s, we are living in true freedom.

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      I bet we could have long conversations on religious presumptions. We often think something from one small church is what “everyone” believes. It’s refreshing to find out otherwise.

  • Delilah

    If a Dr. told me another baby would killl me, I STILL would not use birth control and heres why : GOD is the giver of life. He will take me to be w/ him when he chooses, not a moment sooner (or later). HIS plan is more important than mine. Same thing with children, HE will bless me with as many little ones as he see’s fit.

    • roddma

      You also have brains to use and should think about the impact of any other children. How will they survive without you? there is no need to place such burden on them with modern advances..

    • Julie

      Wow. So you’d leave your other kids motherless. That’s not a good way to treat your “blessings.”

  • Tammie

    Our pastor here when we went to church was very much like this. Until recently weve always been pro children so going to church was very hard , we wanted like minded friends and people surrounding us with similar thought – not ones who lecture or made us feel bad for them. Since that time we dont attend church here anymore. IF we ever move, we might then.

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  • jen

    Wow, it is so refreshing to see your love for children.  I’m a mormon and one of the assumptions that come from being a mormon is that you’ll have alot of children.  Personally, I love big families  and I find women who have raised many children to be in better health and spirits than those who don’t.  I work in long term care and see how we chose to live to day really effects the outcome of our tomorrow.  So many end up lonely at the end because they had one or two or no children to visit or even show an interest in their parents last days.    I know that there a some people out there that shouldn’t have any for obvious reasons but I myself would gladly open my heart to more children and we have four.  There are alot of people even in the mormon faith that view children much like the minister you wrote of.  This is sad to me especially when we’re told to foresake the things of this world and allow God to guide our lives.  Now if people wish to have small families for whatever reason because they have to own those reasons and are evidently denying themselves the blessing of another child then so be it.  I just wish that they could realize that many people have more than one or two children simply because of their love for them and realize that they may have to postpone the trip to Florida and renting a cottage for the summer.  Often I’ll think of the quote from the scriptures “By small and simple means great things shall come to pass.”  and I relate that alot to my own little ones. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/tsfehler Travis Stephanie Fehler

    every pastor i’ve ever had, except one awesome tiny Lutheran church we attended in the tiniest town we’ve ever lived in :)…  And now, we are at a CREC church – and they *LOVE* babies… it is overwhelming after decades of disdain, and even outright hostility towards us for our “too big” (well fed, well behaved, so loved) family