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Pillars are what hold something up, foundational and structural, like the two pillars of Solomon’s temple, Jakin and Boaz, in 1 Kings 7:21. Or the two pillars of the Philistine Temple. Samson leaned against them and was able to knock the whole building down! (Judges 16:29-30)

What is Christian parenthood built upon? What are its foundational principles?
1. Stewardship 2. Sacrifice.
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Number one, Stewardship.

Why stewardship? Well, quite simply, because they the child is not ours! 1.       Children are from the Lord Psalm 127:3 2.        Children are made by the Lord Psalm 139:13-16 3.        Children are delivered by the Lord Isaiah 66:9 4.        Children are raised for the Lord Ex 2:9 5.        Children are for the Lord’s service Mal 2:15 6.        Children lead us to the Lord Gen 4:1, Ex 5:21-22

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What of this child is of us? Well, of course, we had our part to play to get the process started, and we cooperate with their gestation and delivery. Then there is the great work of their care and feeding, training and disciplining. But even in those things, the design is of the Lord. The desire, grace, direction, and provision is of the Lord as well. 1 Cor 4:7 says, “What do you have that you have not received?” So we cannot treat our children or raise them as we want. They seem like they are ours, don’t they? They have our eye color, hair color, curls (or the lack thereof!), tallness, big ears, etc… They resemble us in many ways. And for good or bad, they also inherit what Pastor calls “our spiritual inheritance,” that is, our characteristics, our traits and ways of behaving.

This concept of stewardship starts very early – as soon as we find out we are pregnant – or as is true for some, even before we are pregnant! Some people, when they are in the mode of getting pregnant, begin taking pregnant vitamins. Why? To prevent a potential condition in the fetus called spina bifida. Research has shown that taking 400 mcg of folic acid, one component of most prenatal vitamins, has shown a drastic reduction in spina bifida cases. Why before they become pregnant? Because the spinal cord begins forming before we know we are pregnant! At nine days gestation, there is a chemical present in the fetus’ body that is directing the migration of neural cells to where they need to go, whether they are brain cells, spinal cells, etc. 9 days! Before anyone misses their first period!

There are other ways stewardship manifests itself early on. Just think of the challenges of pregnancy: difficulty sleeping, nausea, avoiding certain foods, restricting medication use, etc. Why? Not for you – many of these foods and medicines were part of your life before, or even things you enjoyed. No – it’s because your body is not your own anymore – someone else inhabits you and is growing off your very lifeblood. You are a very important carriage for a very dependent person. Things you do, eat, drink, etc., are going to be indelibly formed in this person for the rest of his life. When did 9 months of your life ever have such a lifelong impact on anyone – even yourself? Do you even remember much that happened of a nine month period of your life? But now, day by day, a new human being is being “knit together” by the hand of God in your own uterus! But is it your body? Is it your uterus? Ultimately no. “You are not your own, you are bought at a price.” (1 Cor 6:19-20). “Therefore in view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices…” (Rom 12:1-2). What a wonderful way to practically live out these concepts: I am living for another; I am being used of God to form a new human being! What stewardship. What privilege. How humbling! There is a quote by John Piper that goes something like this: “a human birth is the only event in history where something eternal enters into time.” That a human soul – something that will last for eternity – begins existence in a new little human body! Something eternal has entered time now, in your body. A new human soul, in a newly forming body.

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This little soul will be born and you are to nurture, nourish, nurse, and raise this new person to know and serve the eternal triune God. You are given this charge by God, as Pharoah’s daughter gave the charge to Moses’s own mother, in Exodus 2:9 “Take this child and nurse him for me.” This of course also meant nurturing, mothering, not just an act of infant feeding. Jochebed nurtured Moses for 3-5 years, including nursing, as did Samuel’s mother. It was after this time that both young boys were given to the service of God and His people. What a magnanimous venture. Yes – I agree with you – this is totally beyond us!

God did not have us have children for us. They are to be raised to serve Him. In Malachi 2:15 we read: “Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring.” The earth is the Lord’s and all who dwell in it. (Psa 24:1) Don’t think of your baby as your own – he is God’s, given to you as a steward.

Eve, the wretched example for women in Genesis 3, instigated the fall of man by her disobedience and chose to turn away from her husband, and away from the word of God. She turned instead to Satan and his lies, chose sinful self-absorption and sensual desire over the future of herself, her husband, and her progeny. She chose independent thought and action over humble dependence upon the Lord, preferring her own knowledge over her relationship with God. Then we read something interesting about her in the very next chapter. Gen 4:1 “With the help of the Lord, I have brought forth a man.” Something changed in her, that brought her to seek and acknowledge the Lord’s help, and in this particular instance she became a good example when she bore a child. She knew this was beyond her. The gift and delivery of a new human being was the work of the Lord through her body, and she both sought and acknowledged the Lord who helped her through this.

In Exod 5 we read over and over, so-and-so lives so many hundreds of years “AND THEN HE DIED.” Then we read of Enoch: Ex 5:21-22 “When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God.” We don’t read that about anyone else. Enoch was 65 years old, and then he had a son. And “Then he walked with God.” Could it be that something of becoming a parent worked in Enoch and turned him to the Lord? Sometimes as a parent, I wonder who is working on whom more. That is, I wonder if the child is causing a greater degree of discipline and discipleship in me than possibly I am influencing upon this child! (I like to call them tiny ministers of sanctification!) I am being watched. I am being reproduced. My actions, attitudes, responses,…. This little mirror, this little “sponge” is parroting them back at me and it better be good! What could it be about having a child that can draw us to the Lord?

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Well, certainly these things are true: •        Life becomes more serious. •        You are called out of yourself. It’s not about you! •        It is beyond you. It takes you beyond your own limits and abilities!

There is a big difference between merely living and walking with God. Walking with God is an ongoing walk of faith. Faith is not a one time commitment, but an ongoing declaration of trust. It is the cry of your heart, not just your head.

May it be so of us. May we embrace this essential concept, stewardship. Amen.

Marie-Celine Farver RN BSN IBCLC RLC (c) 2013

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