For a long time, Ben and I have wanted a big family. We would love 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 kids. Really, whatever and however the Lord choses to bless us. We've talked about adopting older children from foster care, adopting children from another country (Russia has been on my heart for years), adopting snowflake babies and of course, having more of our own. But again, it will all be as the Lord allows and has planned for us.
As you can imagine, we get all kinds of reactions to this. I once had a friend ask why we wanted so many kids and I said, as Christians we need to expand God's kingdom. She said, "And you're going to do that all by yourself?" Well, not exactly. If other Christians would get the big picture and jump onboard we could all do it together!
Do you know that as it stands, for every 4 Christians in this generation, we are only sending 1 Christian into the next generation?? (calculation by Voddie Baucham. His sermon on the topic is very good.). That leaves few Christians to spread the word about Jesus to what is going to be a very dark and lost world. As Ben and I see it, we are raising, growing, discipling and training missionaries (our kids) to send into the next generation.
Here's the other issue with only having 2 children. Because, let's face it, that's what has become the norm in America. Have your one girl and one boy and you're all done. Right? Other than the fact that your plan may be just that: your plan and not God's it also affects the economy of our country in very negative ways.
Please bear with me just a moment while we talk economics. The current fertility rate in the United States is 2.05. The replacement rate needed to maintain a country's population is between 2.1 and 2.5. In simplest terms: in order for our nation to maintain it's economy, be able to pay taxes, medicare, social security and other entitlement programs, a fertility rate of at least 2.1 is required. Notice that we are below that? And according to a chart (its interactive) of the past 50 years, it's certainly not increasing:
What's interesting to note here is that socialized economies like Europe and Cananda have fertility rates of below 2 and are dangerously low. The irony is that in order to maintain socialism, there has to be more younger workers to support the older citizens. Instead, that is upside down in these countries. This is one of the reasons countries like Greece are collapsing so rapidly. Italy, for example, is now paying women to not get abortions because their birth rates are so dangerously low at 1.4. It's only a matter of time before the United States falls right in line with Europe.
But why are we in this situation? It is all because we have chosen to ignore God. In Genesis, we are clearly called to fill the earth. That means, have lots and lots of babies! While He's not commanding us to have large families in this text, He is saying that children are a blessing. But, instead of listening to God, we play god with our own fertility and use birth control and abortion to control the size of our families. I've talked about birth control and how it affects our view of children before. We believe the lie that "children are expensive" and so we think we can't afford them. I'll remind you of what God says about children:
Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Psalm 127:3
I saw a tweet one time that said, "Children are not expensive. Lifestyles are expensive." I don't think I could say it any better. Why is our perspective of children so skewed? And how can we not see how damaging that perspective is?
"Evangelicals in America are not pro-life, they're just anti-abortion; just look at our birth-rates." ~ Voddie Baucham
The bottom line is simple: God said children are a blessing. God said, have lots of them and fill the earth. We say we know better. And yet, our children's future looks grim because of how few Jesus followers will be there. Turns out, when we start having more kids, when we start training and discipling more missionaries to send into their generation, when we step up and fill the earth with Godly kin, the future looks bright.
Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. Malachi 2:15
Of course God's plan for the size of each family is specific to each family. No one can tell you how many kids to have. You'll need to pray about it, talk to your spouse and listen for God's guidance. Some are called to have large families, some small. Some are called to adopt many. Some are called to foster a few. But we are all called to make disciples. [Matthew 28:16-20]
To the fathers and mothers: your children are your first mission field. Disciple and teach them well. Equip them for the mission field that they will soon enter: their own generation.