How Do You Measure Wealth?Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward.
How can you tell when a church is wealthy? Is it the size of the building? The number of programs? The value of the cars in the parking lot? One way (and it’s not the only measure) is by looking at the nursery.
Solomon tells us that children are a heritage, the fruit of the womb, a reward. Children are an inheritance; they are gifts of wealth freely bestowed by God.
Usually we think about an inheritance in terms of money, possessions, or real estate, but these things can easily be taken away from us. Children, in comparison, are the promise of another generation of life, the hope that an institution or a family can outlive its building or its place. Consider one of the most important promises God made in the Bible, the promise to Abraham that God would make him into a mighty nation and give him land. At the crux of the promise was the promise of a child, a son. The promise of a child was more than just the delight of having children, it was the promise that God would redeem the world through Abraham’s offspring, that the Messiah would come through him.
There isn’t a hint of material wealth in Psalm 127. We want to read this Psalm with materialistic eyes, expecting God to give us material wealth, peace, and security. Instead God blesses people with the wealth of children. To modern sensibilities this is strange because people talk about children as an “investment project” or a “financial drag” rather than a gift.
Solomon tells us that children are like arrows in the hands of a warrior and a stronghold for the future. The picture in verse 5 is of a proud father confronting his enemies at the city gate with his sons and daughters flanking him. But it’s more than that; like arrows, children are intended to be fired. Parents aren’t supposed to keep their children in the quiver. We are to nock them on our bow and let them fly.
At my wedding, a distant relative said to my mother, “You didn’t realize you were raising a future husband, did you?” And my mother quickly replied, “Of course, I did. He wasn’t going to stay a boy forever.” We should want our children to grow up and become strong women and men. But it goes deeper than this. The future of the church is her children. Parents and churches that recognize the great wealth they have with their children will make use of them and value them as vital parts of the community. They will take the long-term view and will prepare their children for faithfulness and service both in the church and in the world.
Keep in mind that this is a song of ascent, and the people of God sang these words together as they were going to worship, children included. Children were taught from birth that they weren’t just an inheritance to individual families but to the people of God.
We, too, need to see our children as an inheritance. We need to take the raising of our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord seriously. In fact, I would say what and how we teach them about Jesus is far more important than what their schools teach them because Jesus will define every relationship they have, he will define how they approach their work, their creativity, everything that they will ever do.
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one's youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When you see children in the church do you think, “There’s my future?” Do you struggle to see children as the wealth of the community? Why or why not? Should children only be the concern of biological parents? Why is the raising of children a church-wide project?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, teach me to see that my wealth is not bound up in possessions or things but with you, your grace, your mercy, and simple gifts, like the gift of children. Thank you for all these things. Amen.
P. S. from Marcus Goodyear, acting Editor-in-Chief: Dave Peterson is on vacation this week, and we are delighted to bring you reflections from Dr, Rob Fossett. Dr. Fossett has adapted these reflections from his upcoming series of Sermon Notes from The High Calling. Later this summer, The High Calling will share Dr. Fossett’s sermons with thousands of subscribing pastors who want to teach their congregation a theological view of work. We know you will enjoy Rob’s wisdom as he invites us to reflect with him each morning.