With starting a new job last week, I have had a lot of introductions to make the past several days at work. And new associates ask a lot of the same questions.
Where was I before this? What is my experience? Do I have a wife and kids? What do I do outside of work? All of that is standard fare.
But when I tell them we have seven children with an eighth due January, the reaction is almost always the same.
“Wow, that’s crazy!”
“Don’t you know how that happens?”
“Are you done yet?”
“Let me guess. You guys are either Catholic or you’re Mormon.”
“Man. I don’t know how you do it.”
Of course, none of these things people say are new to my wife Lauren and me. But rarely have I had so many of these conversations back-to-back in so short a time. And the number of times this script has played out in the past two weeks has me thinking.
The reactions – particularly from guys who are my age and younger – seem scripted because they are in a certain sense. And the script these young bucks are following comes from the broader mainstream culture in America.
Children as Blessings
To be clear, Lauren and I did not arrive at our decision to welcome this many children because we wanted to be countercultural first and foremost. Rather, our ambition was to let the Bible inform our attitude and perspective on children as blessings from the Lord.
As soon as you try explaining that to someone you only just met, you run the risk of seeming legalistic – particularly if the young man you are talking with regards himself as a Christian also.
And we do not want to be legalistic. When we strive to let God’s Word inform our attitudes and convictions, we do not confine ourselves to what the Bible says about children. And we are not saved by works – least of all the work involved in having and raising children, however many or few.
We are saved by God’s grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. What God has already done and is doing and promises to do in Christ is the object of our faith.
Even so, I find myself thinking of PEMDAS, the order of operations for solving mathematical equations. Parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction; get one or two of these out of order, or forget about one or more, and the math is not going to come out right.
So first we start with the Doctrine of Creation.
“In the beginning God” is how the first book of the Bible, Genesis, sets the stage. And from there we learn that God is the Creator, that man was made by God in the image of God, that mankind was created male and female, that marriage was instituted by God, and that God gave the command to “be fruitful and multiply, fill the Earth and subdue it.”
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