To Whom Do Children Belong?

Children - young in circle

An Heritage of the Lord

In my last post, I looked at how many people believe that children belong to the state or society.  When this belief is held to, it is usually results in the state or society believing that they are responsible for how children are to be educated.  In order to have a proper perspective on children and their education, we must turn to God’s Word and see what God has to say about all of this.

In Psalm 127:3-5 we find these words.

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man that has his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. KJV

From this verse and others it becomes clear that children are a gift from God and this gift is given to parents.  If this is true, then parents don’t “own” their children but are “responsible” for their children.  Parents have a stewardship responsibility to God for what He has given them in their children.  This can be seen in the phrase children are an heritage of the Lord.  I once heard someone explain this phrase in a way that really made it clear how my wife and I were to view our children.  He said that this can be paraphrased in this way.

Children: God’s Homework Assignment To Parents

Everyone understands what a homework assignment means.  It definitely means that whoever has been given an assignment, is responsible for its completion.  It also means that whoever gives the assignment will eventually be the one who gives a grade to the one completing the assignment.  In this context, God gives children to parents as an assignment from Him for them to complete.  How the parents complete the assignment will determine the parents’ grade that they will receive from God.

It is important to keep in mind that God did not give this assignment (raising children) to the church, school or state.  He gave it to parents.  This is why the very first biblical principle that I wrote in my book, Kingdom Education, was as follows.

The education of children and youth is the primary responsibility of parents.

God's Design For The Family

God’s Homework Assignment To Parents

Once we understand this truth, we then must determine what God expects to see as the result of parents taking responsibility for educating/raising their children.  In  verse 4 of this Psalm the writer compares children to arrows.  God expects parents to shape/mold their children into strong arrows.  This means that our children must be straight, balanced and razor sharp.  Salvation is the only thing that can straighten out a sin-crooked life.  God’s Word is the only thing that can bring balance into a child’s life.  Finally, living under the Holy Spirit’s control is the only way that our children can have the sharpness that they need to cut through all the false philosophies of this world.

This goal for how parents educate their children is also seen in Malachi 2.  In this passage of Scripture we find that God says He ordained husband and wife to become one flesh.  The purpose for why God designed marriage and the family this way is because, from this union, God wanted to see godly seed produced.

Deuteronomy 6 is often referred to when Christians talk about God’s expectations for parents and the education of their children.  In verses 4 through 7 I find God telling us that we are to have a two-fold focus in our lives as parents. First, we are told in verses 4 and 5 to focus on the true God.

The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

The second thing we are to focus on is found in verse 7.  Here it says that we are to focus on the next generation.

You shall teach them [God’s Word] diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

These verses taught me that while I am alive here on earth, I am to love God with my entire being.  He must be first in my life.  When I die, I go to spend eternity with this wonderful God.  However, there is one thing I, as well as all parents, will leave behind.  That one thing is my children.  God wants the same thing from my children as He wanted from me – to love Him with all their heart, soul and strength.

However, God knows something that we, too often, forget.  This won’t take place just because they are raised in a Christian home.  It won’t take place just because they are taken to church.  Our children will not grow up to love God with all their hearts outside of them receiving diligent teaching.  I have shared with many parents that there are only four times every day that parents are expected to teach their children things of God.

  • Whenever they get up out of bed
  • Whenever they are in the house
  • Whenever they are outside the house
  • Whenever they lie back down in bed

This is what verse 7 says but we read it without understanding the scope of what God is saying it will take to raise godly children.

What amazes me is that, even though God has given us our children to raise, many Christians seem to act as if the state still owns them.  Instead of taking responsibility for how they are educated, parents turn their children over to the state’s secular educational programs and allow them to instill a false worldview into their minds and hearts.

It is time that we take control of how our children are educated and make sure that they receive a Bible-based, Christ-centered education at home, at church and at school.  If we don’t, we will continue to see the vast majority of our children develop a man-centered worldview and walk away from the faith.  Oswald Chambers wrote a powerful explanation of Psalm 127:5 (see verse above).

father and son walking on rails in green tunnel

What Path Will Our Children Take?

Have I been able to reproduce my own kind spiritually?  If so, in a time of difficulty I will be brought through magnificently victorious; but woe be to the spiritual man who never produced his own kind, when the difficulties come, there is none to assist, he is isolated and lonely.

Today’s Christian parents face the same challenge that parents have faced throughout history.  The world will always want to capture the minds of our children through its educational efforts.  The world does this because it believes children belong to society not to the parents.  God says no, they belong to Him and He gives them to parents as a stewardship responsibility.  When we lived in Hendersonville, TN, our pastor read a note that was on a Bible that a publishing company had sent him.  It read,

This generation of Christian parents faces an age-old challenge of faith.  Will our sons and daughters put their faith in Christ?

Or will they be a generation that blends invisibly into a world that considers the Bible to be irrelevant?

Which path our children take depends on who we believe our children belong to, what we believe God requires of us and who and how our children are educated.  How will God grade you and me on how we are doing on His homework assignment to us?

Glen Schultz

Author Glen Schultz

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Ron Whipple says:

    Thank you, Glenn, for the reminder of the awesome responsibility that God has placed in parents for developing and building biblical foundation stones into our children. Having been in education long enough to have taught both the parents and their children, I am very aware about the need for us to build those building blocks. The Bible is very clear about one generation building on another. I share your burden for parents to be spiritually strong to believe and act on the Holy Spirit to work through them to establish those foundation stones generation after generation.

  • Mark Kennedy says:

    Directly on target as usual, thanks Glen.
    In a related point, you’ve reminded us in Christian schooling that, in the most important sense, Christian schoolers and Christian home schoolers have the same goals and need to build each other up!

  • Matt Ticzkus says:

    I’ve got work to do on my assignment! Thanks for sharing!

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