I am greatly inspired by a song by Central Kenya musician Loise Kim titled Mwana, which was nominated for the Groove Awards 2017. In the song, she blesses her children, tells them they are blessings and not curses and that they were designed for greatness and to rule. She wishes them strength, courage, hope and faith in God. She calls them her gifts from God, a reward and arrows in a warrior’s hands. I listened to the song and blessed my children along with her.
This led me to read up on what it means when the Bible says that children are a heritage, a gift, like arrows. From several sermons and articles online, I garnered the following:
- Dr Rick Taylor in a 2015 article titled “Children are Like Arrows” notes that it is easy to start seeing our children as obstacles that keep us from doing things we want or desire, to see them as annoyances that irritate us and distract us from things we deem more important. But the biblical reminder is children are a gift. A commentary on BibleHub notes that children are to be counted as blessings and not burdens: he who sends mouths will send meat if we trust in him.
- Children are a heritage; the Lord’s possession, the Lord’s property. God assigns them to be grown under the parents’ care. So your child belongs to God, you are just a caretaker.
- God has entrusted us with our children for a time. He sees us as warriors in the midst of battle and He wants us to prepare and then send our children far into a future that we will not be a part of. The children belong to Him, but He has gifted them to us for a period of time to accomplish certain things He has designed. It is as if God has contracted parents to participate in the raising of His children.
- The fruit of the womb is the trophy of God’s love. Wise parents and grandparents take pleasure in children. From God’s point-of-view there is no such thing as an “accidental birth” or a “surprise pregnancy” or an “unwanted child.” Each one belongs to Him and is assigned rightly by Him to the parents.
- Children are a great support and defense to a family. Steve Higginbotham in a 2009 sermon points out that like arrows, children need external direction and guidance to be successful. “It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23), “He that trusts in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26), “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction will drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15). To “bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4) necessitates abundant parenting, significant amounts of spiritual direction and guidance.
- Like arrows, Higginbotham says, children need an archer (father) and bow (mother). Without an archer an arrow never takes flight. Without a bow, an arrow can be nothing more than a puny spear. The accuracy and force of an arrow is largely dependent upon the aim and strength of the archer and the integrity and caliber of the bow. Because it was a life-or-death matter, great concern and effort were given to developing the skill of accurately aiming and rightly releasing an arrow. In far too many parents’ minds today, conceiving and raising children are viewed, at best, as recreational matters, rather than solemn spiritual responsibilities. Therefore, as many children mature they have little, if any, sense of purpose.
- Like arrows, children must be aimed and released. Arrows are made differently and for different work but they are also very similar — each has been carefully fashioned and crafted, molded and balanced. They’re all intended for flight. They’re all intended for a target. They’re all intended for maximum impact on that target. To talk about arrows without talking about targets is absurd. Arrows, especially in ancient days, were not recreational toys or childish playthings. They were weapons used for livelihood (i.e. hunting) and self-preservation (i.e. warfare).
- Alan Smith in a 2002 sermon titled “Arrows In the Hands of a Warrior” notes that children are very different from one another. They have different looks, interests, personalities. But they’re also very similar because each of them was fashioned and crafted by God. And each of them is being molded, balanced, and readied for flight from the home. Arrows are designed to fly. They aren’t for show. They were never intended to stay in a quiver. The quiver is just a vehicle that carries them until they are ready for release. You might say that arrows were made to be released. They were made to fly. They were made to pierce a target. Smith adds that children were never intended to stay within the four walls of the home. The home is a merely a means to prepare them and mold them and straighten and balance them. But the time is coming when they will be released. Our children were designed by their Creator to make an impact on the world. To live for a reason. To set their minds toward a goal. To accomplish a purpose. To count for something in God’s great scheme of things. God once said of Abraham, “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice…” (Genesis 18:19).
- Children should be aimed at godliness (Malachi 2:15) so that they will “fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13) from the days of their youth (Ecclesiastes 12:1) “unto death” (Revelation 2:10). In the heat of an intense and dangerous battle no warrior would view the aiming and releasing of his arrows as a casual matter; the stakes are too high.
- Ultimately our children are responsible as individuals before their heavenly Father for the flight they take and the mark they make. But as a father or mother, as a warrior, you are also responsible to release those precious arrows to the best of your ability.
- You must decrease as they increase. In John 3:30, there’s a turning point in his ministry where John the Baptist said of Jesus Christ, “He must increase, I must decrease.” That describes well the role of a parent with our own children. Their personal responsibility to the Lord must increase; their personal responsibility to Mom and Dad must decrease.
- Arrows allowed a warrior to impact a battle scene from a great distance. In a similar way, we can impact the world through our children in a way we could never do by ourselves. Paul said the same thing to the Corinthian Christians, “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men.” (2 Corinthians 3:2). Everywhere our children go, people will look at them and see the results of our teaching.
- Steve reminds us that like arrows, children have great potential for good and evil. Few things in life are more devastating than the regrets of careless, foolish, shortsighted parents. Consider what heartache God says awaits them: “He who begets a scoffer does so to his sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy” (Proverbs 17:21).
- Like arrows, children are a one shot deal. Children who are young, may be directed aright to the mark, God’s glory, and the service of their generation; but when they are gone into the world, they are arrows out of the hand, it is too late to direct them then. As David so poignantly proved with the death of his rebellious son Absalom, there are no do-overs in parenting. What a sad epitaph it is when it can honestly be said, “It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”
At what bull’s eye are you aiming your children? Let us help our children find their identity, build their character, develop relationships and be ready and released for their mission.
Below is a prayer by Steve for his son. I found it as poignant as Loise Kim’s song and you can probably adopt it for your own children as you release them into the world:
“To a world very much needing his character, gifts, skill, and love for Christ, we proudly and humbly this is our beloved [state name of child] in whom we are well pleased. Like an arrow fashioned not to remain in the quiver but to be released into the heart of its target, we release him/her to adulthood. We know him/her to be thoughtful, capable and mature. He/she is the message we release to a world we will never see. He/she is a man/woman. We release him/her to his manhood.womanhood and all of its responsibilities. To the finding and cherishing of a godly and supportive wife/husband, to the begetting and raising by God’s grace and design of believing children. And to the commission of the Lord Jesus Christ to go into all the world, making followers of all people, teaching them to observe the rich and life-giving truths of His holy scriptures.”