Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. – Psalm 127:3

As a father of three, the truth of this passage resonates in my soul, but as a Pastor who interacts with many people, I recognize that verses like this can be hard for some to relate to. I’m thinking of the people who haven’t or may never have kids, who physically can’t have kids, and even those who just don’t want to have kids. What do we say to them? Well, I want to suggest that this verse still applies to those single and childless believers today in a way that it didn’t in the Old Testament because of a huge theological and practical shift that took place with Jesus.

However, we have to begin by pointing out that procreation is actually a command in the Bible! In fact, it is the very first command written in the Bible: “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). That first command is actually given in the form of a blessing to the first humans. You see, they were made to be God’s image-bearers in the world… They were the ones who were supposed to be God’s ambassadors, the ones who spoke for God, the ones who were in charge when He “wasn’t around.” The humans were supposed to exercise “dominion” over the rest of creation on God’s behalf, but all with the goal of multiplying God’s influence across the globe. When this didn’t work with creation as a whole, it became the task of the Hebrew people to carry out.

Sadly, the history of the Old Testament is riddled with stories of parents who did an awful job of passing on the ways of God to their kids. It is no wonder that the slow method of biological reproduction only ended with a relatively small and uninfluential people group. The movement of God around the world didn’t explode until about 2000 years ago when God instituted a strategic change in his operational procedures: Jesus. God changed his preferred means of how to spread throughout the world. Instead of working through leaders like Abraham whose name literally means “father of a multitude,” we have Jesus who never even got married. We have Paul who tells people that it is good to stay unmarried like him (1 Corinthians 7:8). In fact, in the entire New Testament, there isn’t one example of a leader in the faith who had children. If any church leaders had children, it wasn’t important enough to make it into the pages of Scripture. This is a major theological shift!

However, the first command and our passage today still apply, just in a different way. Now, biological reproduction isn’t the only means of being fruitful and creating a heritage. God is much more interested in spiritual multiplication. Instead of growing God’s influence by making babies, we are to do so by making disciples… spiritual children who can be just as much our heritage and our reward.

So, it doesn’t matter whether you have children or not, we all have a part to play. We have been given new marching orders that supersede and expands on that first command:  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”

I pray you will.

Josh Rose
Teaching Pastor

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