According to God’s word, they are. Psalm 127:3 says,”Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.”
We see it in the Old Testament. Esau sees his brother Jacob and notes how many women and children are with him. “And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, “Who are these with you?” Jacob said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.”
(Genesis 33:5 ESV)
We see Jesus commend them in the New Testament to the Scribes and Pharisees who are outraged that the children are calling out truth about Jesus. “But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?”
(Matthew 21:15-16 ESV)
We see Jesus welcome them to his presence and bless them. “And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
(Mark 10:13-16 ESV)
What does it look like to welcome children in our lives? How do we show that they are a blessing to us as the Lord has said they are? They can be messy. They argue. They can be disrespectful. They can cause huge messes. They can disobey (often). They can refuse authority and not submit. They can need our attention so much that we can’t focus on other things. They require much.
So much of this teaching is about our mindset about children. Do we welcome them as blessings? Do we include them in the fabric of our time with the Lord. Or do we see them as a hinderance to our time? Do we see them as interrupting our work or interrupting our nice grown up environment. Do we easily grow frustrated with what they require? Do we find ourselves wondering when someone will teach those kids to act better, to behave better, to be quieter?
We all have heard of eateries that have banned children 6 and under, allowing for enjoyment for the other patrons. We must be very careful how we see these rules. We can start to think that they apply to every area of our lives- even our covenant communities that we worship in.
Maybe the very fact that they require much is a blessing too. My heart is revealed to me more in parenting and my relationship with my children than any other area of my life. They show me my selfishness, they are used by God to help me see my idols, they cause me to rely on Him and His sovereignty when I fear for them or their futures, they make me evaluate what I want for them truly- just good behavior? or do I want tender hearts to God’s word? Do I want children who obey perfectly the first time? or do I want children who see their need for a Savior and who know how to repent and forgive? Do I want to not be embarrassed by how they act? or do I want to walk the road beside them leading them in truth and grace?
Oh, children are a blessing. I remember that I am a CHILD of God. With all that implies- I behave just as they do and I am thankful for a Father who welcomes children (messy, argumentative, restless, rebellious) children to him and TEACHES us patiently and faithfully to grow in knowledge and truth. Thank heaven that our Father doesn’t “ban” messy children from his table.