The apostle Paul sent two letters to Timothy. In the second of these he said to his fellow worker, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well” (2 Timothy 1:5).
He continued this emphasis in chapter 3: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (verses 14 and 15). Paul was thankful for the spiritual influence Timothy’s grandmother and mother had on him as they made sure of his exposure to the “sacred writings” — the word of God.
This exposure made possible the development of his faith, since “…faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
We show the value we place on anything by how we treat it. Let’s think a little about our children, who eat and sleep at our houses, who calls us “mom” or “dad.” There are few concerns for our families and society in general that the worth of children — not just physically, but, more importantly, spiritually. Although I’ve helped raise two children to adulthood, I can’t claim perfection as a parent — far from it! Even though all parents make mistakes with their children, we can learn and do better.
Consider that parents are partners with God in bringing children into the world. Cain and Abel were the first “naturally born” children. What a blessing this was for Adam and Eve. Their births were made possible by God. When Cain was born, Eve declared, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” It was also a tremendous responsibility! The Bible has many stories and instruction to help us understand the value of children in God’s eyes.
The patriarch Abraham’s faith received perhaps its greatest test when God told him to sacrifice his son Isaac, whom the Lord promised to give him and Sarah in their old age. God stopped Abraham as he took the knife to kill the boy (Genesis 22). His love for his son was reflected in his faithful obedience to God, who fulfilled his promise.
During the time of the Judges of Israel, Hannah, an Israelite woman who had no children prayed for a son, promising to devote his life to God “all the days of his life” (1 Samuel 1:11). God granted her prayer and the child grew up to be the great prophet Samuel.
One of most tragic stories of Old Testament history is that of David and his son Absalom. David loved him, it has been suggested, “to a fault!” When the rebellious son was killed, David’s heart was broken. “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33).
Parents, consider a few vital questions about your relationship with your children:
• Do I love my children? (Not everyone does!)
• Do I thank God for my children?
• Do I love my children’s soul as much as their bodies and minds?
• Do I want my children to be as faithful to the Lord?
There are others that are important, of course, but these are basic to the question regarding how much I value my children.
Bible students are familiar with Jesus’ view of the value of children: “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).
Let us continually thank God for the blessing of children, valuing them as he does and “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).