Children are a gift.
This is not an opinion. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like a reality. But it is truth. God says so and that settles it.
Hopefully, many of you can list a great number of personal and specific examples of ways that your children are gifts. But there is one that we can often overlook. So, for all your parents reading this, let’s reminisce a bit.
Think back to the birth of your children. I know for me, with each of them, there was this amazing, meaningful, pregnant moment when the momentum of labor and delivery all stood still. It happened once each of my children were wrapped up and lying under the French fry warmer.
What was it that filled that moment? What caused my heart to stand still and my eyes to fill with soggy wonder…every time? It was a touch of eternity.
There is something profound about witnessing the birth of a part of you that will, in most cases, carry you beyond your lifetime. There is something “extending” about the birth of a child. There is an awareness of our smallness…of a generation that will live beyond us. In the birth of our children, our minds and our hearts are stretched beyond the span of our years and we understand our finitude…and that God’s gift of children stretches it beyond us.
Yet, even our “stretched out” finitude is finite. And our children, should they outlive us, will still come face to face with their finitude. And so will their children, in the same way our parents did and we are currently. Though having children stretches it a bit, we’re still left in the same reality as the previous generation…and the next. We’re finite.
But we serve an infinite God. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the God of Mark, Andy and Rob. The God of David of Bethlehem is the God of David of West Chester. He hasn’t changed and He is no closer to His end than He was when He created the world.
As parents of children that hold the potential to stretch our finitude into the next couple generations, we have a choice to make. Will we train our children to stretch our finitude or to proclaim God’s infinity? Will we raise them to proclaim our legacy or God’s? Will they be better known as sons and daughters of Rob or sons and daughters of God?
Children are a gift. And we will send that gift on as a time capsule to the future. When the future opens it, will it find artifacts of a time gone by or will it find the living Word within them?
That all depends. Will we commit to stretch our finitude? Or will we commit to God’s infinity? I suggest this: that we as a church send our children into the future beyond us firmly committed to God’s infinity. That we set aside our aspirations for a personal legacy and entrust it to God. That our thoughts of what our children say about us be traded in for thoughts of what our children say about God. That God’s infinity become a preoccupying parental thought each day. We will have all of eternity to enjoy the fruit of such a commitment.