Children Are Arrows

I love the words of Psalm 127:3-5:

Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

At first that passage seems pretty straightforward, acknowledging the great truth that children really are an amazing blessing, a heritage, and a reward from the Lord. But just when you expect the Psalm to turn a little sloppy with hugs and kisses all around, we come to some war imagery. Battle imagery. Pictures of war and engagement.

The children aren’t only pictured as a reward; they are seen as the psalmist as a weapon. As arrows in the hands of a warrior.

I am coming to the realization that as much as I want and pray for my kids to be Christ-followers, good citizens, responsible members of society, safe, and happy, there is something else I need to pray for and move toward. I need to move toward parenting arrows.

The truth is that the greatest chance I have to change the world is in my children. if we can raise them to be kingdom people, people who take great risks for Christ, and love Him more than they love their lives, then the world can be changed. They can change it, and I can change it vicariously through them. They can become more – more than me, more than businessmen and women, more than pursuers of the American dream – they can become arrows.

And we as parents have the greatest measure of influence as to how straight they are shot, and how sharp their blades are. We can raise them to understand the great purposes of the universe, and that a life given for those purposes is not one spent in vain.

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