My wife and I had our first child recently, and during the lead up to his birth, I had Psalm 127 taped to my computer monitor as a reminder of this promise from the Lord. It is a deeply encouraging passage for those on the parenting journey, and I was particularly struck by verse 3:

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.”

Brent with his wife Jane, and son Joshua.
Brent with his wife Jane, and son Joshua.

A blessing and a responsibility

Having a child is a truly amazing experience. As I look upon my son and see something of myself in him, I am struck by both the blessing and responsibility it is to be his dad. In a very real sense, Joshua is a heritage from the Lord – an amazing gift from God to me. There is a depth to our relationship which is indescribable. I take such joy in everything he does as he learns and grows.

At the same time, however, God has given him to me to care for, protect, and love – there is great responsibility in receiving such a wonderful gift. I feel a burden to give him a safe and loving home and to set an example for him as a caring and God honouring man.

These dual concepts of blessing and responsibility have caused me to reflect on the things in life that I value as truly important. For instance, I would say that I’ve always been fairly responsible, but my becoming a parent has taken it to another level (perhaps to the chagrin of those around me). Another thing that my parenting experience has solidified in my mind, thus far, is the conviction that any child-focused development that Baptist World Aid is involved in, should certainly include work that empowers parents… rather than replacing them.

 

Empowering parents rather than replacing them

A refrain I find myself sharing more and more frequently, is that our good intentions ought not replace parents who live in poverty. Instead, we should use our generosity to empower them to be the parents that God created them to be. By doing so, we are making sure that parents can care for the needs of every single one of their precious children… well into the future.

For this reason, when you sponsor a child through Baptist World Aid Australia, your $48 per month is not used to provide children with food, school books, or other material needs. Instead it funds important work which seeks to empower the parents of these children to increase their income, so they can provide all of their children with food, school books, and anything and everything else they might need.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, and so the blessing and responsibility of caring for those children belong to the parents, not to others. God has bestowed parenthood upon them, and we need to respect and encourage that God given responsibility.