Monday, February 27, 2012

"You Can't Afford All Those Kids"

Photo Credit: BBC News

"This picture makes me very happy," says Anor. "This is my family and our house. We are refugees but we are happy because we have a house, food, and our family is together."

If you have a large family, if you have a large family on a single income, and especially if you have a large family on a very small single income, you have possibly heard some remark along the lines of "How do you afford it" or "You can't possibly provide for another child."

Are these comments true? Very likely yes...if you take the view of the "world" that is. The view of the world is we must consume to be happy and successful in life. If we are not able to provide our children with the latest styles in clothing, hundreds of dollars worth of new toys each year, to put them in any extracurricular activity they request, have our cupboards stocked with expensive convenience food, take annual trips with the family and have enough to put them all through medical school then we can not possibly be providing for them properly. Of course the world also insists that on top of all this we must have met all our wants and desires first, before even considering bringing a child into the world to provide for. Does this picture look right to you?

Maybe you're not taking an approach as extreme as the one I described, but you're thinking may well be along the same lines. How much and what do you feel you need to provide your child with? Are you fully aware of the difference between needs and wants? Are your views on needs and wants based on those of the world or those of the word?

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Psalm 23 A psalm
of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so
that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in
every good work.

Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.

Do you trust in God to provide your needs? Are you content with your daily bread, or if you see someone with roast beef do you get jealous and want what they're having?

I won't lie, I struggle with this, a lot. I've grown up in a world of "never enough." Soup and homemade bread for the fourth time in a week becomes tiresome, and I crave something more. The 27inch TV somehow seems too small and not "flat" enough, the new blue dishes you got aren't as pretty as you remember and besides you've decided your kitchen should be more in the yellows. How often are we craving more, and how much of it is because society tells us we "need" it, we "deserve" it, and for goodness sakes don't even think about having kids until you have all these bigger better things, and extra for when you want to change it all again. Do you think as a society we're just making this stuff up as we go along? Do you think maybe someone is whispering these lies to us? Can you find anywhere in the Bible that it tells you it's okay to think this way, that it's okay to desire, crave and covet?

Anyone out there read "Little House?" Anybody remember them eating johnny cakes (or something like that) and maple syrup over and over and over. Anyone remember ma and pa deciding not to have more kids until they could provide a balanced three to five course dinner every single day? Anyone?

I strongly suggest that each of you spend some time this week researching the difference between needs and wants...starting with your Bible. Then maybe search something along the lines of Third world communities, or surviving the depression, or even just how other cultures live. I would love to hear what you come up with, and if you want to write (or have) a blog on the topic I would really love to take a look at your thoughts on this.

Here is a great little story to help you get perspective:

Through the eyes of a child

“One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, ‘How was the trip?’

’It was great, Dad.’

‘Did you see how poor people live,’ the father asked.

‘Oh yeah,’ said the son.

‘So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip,’ asked the father.

The son answered:

‘I saw that we have one dog and they had four.’

‘We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.’

’We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.’

‘Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.’

‘We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.’

‘We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.’

‘We buy our food, but they grow theirs.’

‘We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.’

The boy’s father was speechless.

Then his son added, ‘Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are."

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  1. Excellent excellent excellent! Just found out I'm expecting and I'm bracing myself for the comments.

  2. What a beautiful post!! This is something so hard to explain to people these days. They say it is good stewardship they are practicing by not having to many kids but I just think that the enemy has gotten his lies in too deep in our culture to see that it is really lack of faith.

  3. April, I think I saw that you were expecting on your blog the other day. Early August right? I'm due around then as well. It's sad that one of our first thoughts when we find out we're expecting has to be to brace ourselves for the comments we'll receive instead of being excited to share in the joy of the blessing with everyone. :(

    1. Too true! From the minute you find out you're expecting your third, everyone has some smart crack or derogatory comment to make.

    2. Just saw this! I'm not due until the end of October. Yes, I agree, we shouldn't have to deal with the comments/attitudes. My husband and I are older, and are in a bad financial situation, so I'm sure people will think we are irresponsible having more children...but we just see things differently. More children are a blessings, and we trust God to provide!

  4. Sarah, I thought I was the only one who had heard the "stewardship" comment. I too believe that it usually stems from a lack of faith or a place fear.

  5. FANtastic post!
    I love that photo too. :D

  6. Thanks for this needed reminder that being rich is a matter of values and a matter of mind. Thanks! GAil

  7. Thanks for this post. It was astounding! This is how we should all think about God's blessings.

  8. That story is beautiful! We have 7 children and are sometimes confronted with those types of comments and expectations. But the Lord provides for every single need. And we are learning along the way the way to mesh our wants with our needs...letting God define them and not the world! Thank you for an excellent post!

  9. As a mom of 8 and grandmother of 21, I can say AMEN to the comments above! God has been so faithful to us all our lives and even though we never made a lot of money, all our kids were happy and provided for. We did get comments (mostly from other Christians) whenever we were expecting another baby, but recently one of our daughters said, "Thank you, Dad and Mom, for giving me so many wonderful siblings!" That's a blessing!!

  10. This is such a good post- I had to share it with my husband too! Thank you. :)

  11. Thank you, thank you. God spoke to me today-October 2012 through this Feb post! Blessings!!!