By Dennis Rainey
Did you know that the nation of Hungary needs more babies?
Concerned about the country’s declining birthrate and its dramatic impact on economic stability, Hungarian government officials have implemented some creative strategies to encourage women to have more children. It offers family support loans and improved social benefits to young married couples for each new child. According to Wikipedia, couples with three or more children pay virtually no taxes!
This is just one example of the efforts that officials in some countries are making to address one of their greatest problems … adults are choosing to have fewer children. Nations like Japan, Italy, Spain, South Korea, and in some parts of America are concerned about the economic impact of falling fertility rates. In Italy, the birthrate has fallen more than 25 percent in the last 10 years. In America, the number of births per 1000 people today is half the rate back in 1950.
For decades researchers have highlighted multiple causes for falling birthrates. Personally, I think the issue is pretty simple: We live in a world that just doesn’t value children as it once did.
In fact, if you have more than two or three kids, some people will undoubtedly express great concern: “Don’t you know how much kids cost? Can you afford to send them to college?”
Have you stopped to consider what a strange statement of values this is—that you’d actually decide not to have additional children because you might not be able to afford their college expenses?
God’s view of children
In Psalm 127:3 we are told, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Elsewhere in Scripture children are repeatedly described as a blessing.
The bottom line is that God is bullish on children.
The first chapter of the best-selling book of all time, the Bible, underscores the value God places on children:
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:27-28
Here God commands parents to “be fruitful and multiply” and He declares that children are a blessing, a privilege, and a responsibility.
What do we believe about children?
I think it’s time for a heart check about children in the Christian community.
Do we truly believe what God said about children?
Do we really believe that we ought to be fruitful and multiply?
Do we really believe children are a blessing?
Let me pause and make it clear I fully realize there are many who desire children but suffer from infertility. And I realize every couple must make their own decisions about the number of children in their family.
My challenge to couples is to evaluate our personal beliefs according to the truth of Scripture … and God places a heavenly value on children.
In the end it’s their decision, of course. But if we truly believe what the Bible says about children, then why not prayerfully challenge couples who can have children to consider having more than one or two? And why not consider adding to your family through adoption or foster care?