Hey guys. I just posted a response to a question I received about the sermon yesterday in the previous post. You can read the beginning of that post to know why I’m answering questions about yesterday’s sermon on the blog.
But here’s another question I received: “How do you come to a point where you are ready to have a baby despite finances, love for a career, and feelings of being equipped?”
A very good question and again I want to point you to the sermon on our website or iTunes in order to get the best perspective of the context of this question and my answer.
To begin with children are a gift of God and to be desired by men and women. The overall expectation of men and women in the Bible is that men will grow up and become a man (The entire book of Proverbs, the Bible for that matter) leave his parents (Gen. 2, Proverbs), get married (Gen. 2, Proverbs, Psalms, Song of Solomon, Eph. 5), lead his family spiritually (Proverbs, 1 Tim. 3, Titus 1), provide for his family financially (Proverbs, 1 Tim. 5:18), and start having babies with his wife who will be homeward in her orientation. She will build the home for ministry, family, society, and the glory of God (Proverbs, Titus 2:3-4).
Part of the training of children ought to include teaching in the area of God’s expectation of men and women to build families. The wisdom books of the OT are shot through with this teaching. They are books written by older men to younger men in many cases. So even if a man or woman isn’t able to have children or provide for children or care for children they should from their earliest days desire children.
Which brings us to the question. How can we know when we are able to have children despite minmal money, love for a career, and being ill equipped.
Let me say to begin that only the money issue and the being ill equipped issue is actually addressed explicitly in the Bible.
So the money issue first. The man being responsible to provide financially is mentioned in 1 Tim. 5:18 and the book of Proverbs has several passages from a father to son on how to handle money well. Plus the NT including Jesus teaches his followers to use their money wisely. So a man, before he is married and I would argue before he even has a girlfriend, should be making plans on generating enough income to provide not only for himself, but a wife and children. This includes being educated, developing a hard working ethic, and becoming wise in the way of investment. So men need to pursue that and women should expect that. If you are a woman do not marry a man who can’t pay his bills or doesn’t work and isn’t a hard worker.
Now if a man is able to provide a payment for rent or mortage, put food on the table, pay medical bills through insurance or other, and keep clothes on his back, a wife’s back, and another life’s back then you’re ready to have children. You may not be able to have WANTS, but as long as he can provide the NEEDS without the wife working then I’d say go for it. Stop and read Jesus words in Matt. 6:24-34 and God’s Word through Paul in 1 Tim. 6:6-10.
As a side, it has been my experience and I’ve talked to other parents of young children who agree. Infants don’t really cost that much money. Diapers were the only major expense we incurred with our first child. Sarah breastfed and we received clothes from cousins, other baby needs (car seat, swings, toys, etc) through baby showers. That’s not true of everyone but even then those are not major major expenses. It’s when kids get older where the major expenses start to set in.
Now to the being ill equipped issue.. The Bible speaks to this issue in Proverbs and Titus 2:3-4. Older women are to be teaching younger women how to be workers at home. Not just to be workers at home, but how to do that. How do you manage a house, how do you carry out domestic responsibilities, how do you balance work and play, education, etc? Those are to be passed down from older women to younger women. Mothers to daughters. But again, I realize that isn’t always happening, so many young women are ill equipped. In that case, the church should step in as the community of God. I right now know of at least 4 women at Crew that would love to come alongside young women looking to be equipped in this area. There is also talk of a small group about just this thing beginning in the future. Please see me and I’ll help you for sure.
Now the issue of love of career. This is actually a recent cultural question that has emerged over the last 50 years in predominately Western society. The Bible doesn’t speak to the term career explicitly. It does speak to personal ambition over God’s will. God never teaches us to elevate OUR name or OUR desires or OUR goals or OUR wealth or that it’s something to be sought. For men or women. In fact, he warns against the desire to be great and/or rich (1 Tim. 6:6-10; James 4:1-10; 1 Peter 5:5-6). Not being great or rich, just the desire to be those things. God teaches that we are to seek to follow Christ and the kingdom of God and in doing that he’ll give us contentment, joy, peace, and impact (Psalm 37:4; Matt. 6:24-34; Luke 14:25-33), in himself rather than our name, desires or career. A career in whatever field or for whatever gender will not make us happy or fulfilled. Only God can do that.
So we might have desires to make a career for ourselves, but a career is not a pursuit in and of itself or even to be a desire. I’m a pastor because God has called me to be a pastor and to serve Crew and the city. Not to elevate my career as a pastor, preacher, leader or whatever. It is the avenue that God has given me to serve him. Also, if I could continue to use my occupation as an example. Even in this calling, which many would call a high calling and ministry, it is to take back seat to my responsibilities to my wife, family, and home (1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1). So as a man who is a pastor of a church. If I fail in my duties to my home and family. I am disqualified. That is how high God views the home. The church is a household in 1 Tim. 3:15 so it is to be led by men who have good homes.
Speaking of the home. There is no mention of God elevating career, but there are numberous instances of his high view of home. He refers to the temple where the Jews worship as his house (Matt.21:13), the church is called a household (Eph. 2:19, 1 Tim. 3:15), the body of believers is the temple of God where the Holy Spirit lives (1 Cor. 6:19, 1 Pet. 2:5), and heaven is called God’s house (John 14:2). God loves the home. He elevates the home and he elevates mothers who build homes (Ps. 113:9; Prov. 31). So our desires are never to be elevated above God’s desire for us.
Finally, I want to say that if a woman did have a desire to work in the marketplace that depending on the amount of children she had, she could still do so in a limited fashion (when the kids were in school) or even a full time fashion once the children are raised. Or really any number of ways in which the children and the home were not neglected as the priority of the woman. The woman in Proverbs 31, as an example, had a plan to do so without neglecting the home.
Hope this helps. Love to hear what you think.