Your life would be squeaky clean and far less complicated without kids. You could relax more. Buy some nicer furniture. Go out on more dates with your spouse. Have the weekends all to yourself. Drive a vehicle other than a minivan.
Sometimes, we are tempted to think like this. Perhaps we are stressed or our patience runs out. Maybe we are tired and we just want our house to stay clean for ten minutes. Just ten freaking minutes.
But without kids, your life would also have less joy, less wonder, and less potential. You will have no legacy that lasts more than a single generation. It is hard work, yes. But for the reward, it’s a steal.
Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.Proverbs 14:4
A manger that does not smell like animals is a wasted manger. It has no point. To take pride in it is foolishness.
Our households are meant to help bring forth abundant crops. One of those crops: children who pass down your values to the next generation.
This should result in a house that is well-used, worn at the edges, and stained in places. It should result in a father that is well-used, worn at the edges, with some nagging pain he can’t quite explain.
Remember, households are meant to have a mission and that mission must go beyond rest and entertainment. A pristine house, with everything perfectly in place, decorated in a manner worthy of magazine covers…will eventually be sold to someone else. Or crumble. Or burn to ashes.
Has it been used to help harvest abundant crops? Or are you merely taking pride in its appearance?
Are you entertaining to show off to your friends? Would you be embarrassed if someone found proof that human beings lived in your house?
Mangers should still be as clean as they can be. Cleanliness should not be ignored. But we must remember that cleanliness is not the point of having the manger. A manger is meant to house oxen, no matter how dirty and unkempt they happen to be.
Likewise, a house should be kept organized and clean. This is not a call to laziness. But cleanliness isn’t the point of having a house. A house is meant to be full of people, and many of those people should be children, no matter how dirty and unkempt they happen to be.
Having a house to clean, and that needs to be cleaned, is a blessing. A house that is always clean is just an elaborate tomb. It might look nice, but even tombstones can have a nice wreath of flowers hanging on them.
Where there are no children, the house is clean, but a legacy is passed on in the heart of a child.