I have loved being a mother, but never quite grasped its critical significance from God's perspective till I read this chapter in the context of the whole book. What Ash says in effect is this: having children and being a parent lies at the very heart of God’s plan for this world. Being a doctor, teacher, butcher, baker or candlestick maker doesn’t. In God’s eyes, what you do as a parent matters more than any other job you will ever have.
The blessing of Genesis 1:28 "to be fruitful and multiply" is given by God so that men and women will be able to govern and care for the world under God's authority; they are unable to do this on their own and needed more 'gardeners':
... and so Eve is given to work alongside him as his helper. Alongside her contributions to the work (as an equal human being alongside Adam), it is her unique privilege to bear and nurture children and so increase the 'gardening' team" (pg 51).But in this fallen world, Adam's heirs are no longer fit to rule. Do we just keep producing rebels? No, before the Fall, the task was stewardship; afterwards, the task is rescue. With Abraham, God initiates a plan that culminates in Jesus’ death and resurrection: “I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you” (Gen 17:6). The language of procreation and fruitfulness has now been transferred from humanity to God’s people. Now what is needed is a new race of redeemed people who desire to bring glory to their creator. Malachi 2:15 says, “Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring.” Why does God want godly offspring? So that they will bring him honour and glory: Christians are to be fruitful and multiply so that, together, mums, dads and their children can participate in God’s task of rescue by proclaiming Christ.
What an amazing privilege! As a mother, I am caught up in God's great purposes of reconciling the world to himself and seeing all things brought together under one head, Jesus. Wiping snotty noses, changing dirty nappies, singing 'Colin Buchanan' songs in the car and answering endless questions can never be the same again.
Ash rounds off his chapter on kids dealing with some very sensitive and thorny issues. Is it right to deliberately not have kids? What if we cannot have kids? What about contraception? His sensitivity in handling hurting people is exceptional.
The Bible invests the role of mother with enormous dignity: with her husband, she looks to a God deserving of her service, to a world that needs rescuing and to a task involving raising godly kids—kids who will grab the baton and run the race of gospel proclamation and parenthood, which they will then hand on to their kids. What a great privilege to be a mother! Never ever let anyone denigrate it. May we never ever say, “I’m just a mum”. Someone once asked a full-time mother, “What do you do for a living?”. She smiled and answered, “I’m socializing two homo sapiens in the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition that they may be the instruments for the transformation of the world. And what do you do?”. Touché!
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