The Bible tells about certain people who will be put to shame when they speak with their enemies. Today’s Christians are a lot that fit this description very well. They have turned into a community who bow their heads before their enemies. It has become their habit to surrender when their basic tenets of faith are attacked from all four sides. They remain mute spectators when they are denied their rightful share and when others encroach upon what their children should have otherwise inherited.
What is the reason for this pathetic state of things? The sole reason is that we are not effectively using the weapons given by our Heavenly Father. It is God’s desire that we should fill our quiver with weapons sufficient to face our enemies. The strength to fight the enemy comes from the confidence that we have the required weapons ready with us.
Then what is the weapon that God has given us? The Psalmist has written about it centuries ago. ‘Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate’ (Ps 127:4-5). Our children are the most effective weapon granted by God to be employed in the fight against our enemies. The very first blessing in the Holy Bible reads; ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it’ (Gen 1:28). The Psalmist also reminds us that being fruitful is what God wants from us. ‘By his blessing they multiply greatly’ ( Ps 107:38).
But the Christians of the present generation have intentionally turned away from this divine blessing. We cannot expect more from a community that has strayed into the false belief that it is possible to serve God and Mammon at the same time. Today many Christians think that there is nothing wrong in limiting the number of children if they feel that more children will be an obstacle in their pursuit to make money and enjoy the pleasures of this world. In that process, ‘the wife who should be like a fruitful vine in the house’ (Ps 128:3) has turned into a tree that yields money. As a natural corollary, our children who should have shone like ‘olive shoots around our table’( Ps 128:3) have become dry trees.
We should mend our ways. Let our children be our cause of joy like olive shoots around our tables. No family has ever complained that because the number of their children were more, the joy and peace of the family was disturbed. Equally important, no family has ever claimed that their family became a better place to live because they limited the number of children.
This is time for introspection. Unless we correct our ways, the gap created by our dwindling numbers will be filled with those who come from cultures that are totally alien to what we preach and practice. And in the end they will subdue us. No, it is not a pessimist’s lamentation, but a reflection of what we witness today.
We Christians are a nation called to become a blessing to the whole world. ‘And your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring’ (Gen 28:14). Peter also says; ‘It is for this that you were called- that you may inherit a blessing’ (1 Pet 3:9)
Our Father in heaven keeps his hands open at all times to shower blessings upon us. It is a tragedy that there are not enough hands to receive those blessings. Such a community will have to face the ignominy of being put to shame at the gate, when they rise to speak with their enemies. To avoid it we should fill our quivers with the children of our youth.
Let us pray for the grace to accept more children from the hands of God, acknowledging that the fruit of the womb is truly a reward and a heritage from the Lord.