The greatest investment one can make is in children. Nothing will be used more to perpetuate your life -- long after you are gone, like your children.

David worded it well in Psalm 127:3 "Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward."

Job was faithful to God -- but that didn't stop the devil from accusing him to God. Satan told God "If you take the hedge of protection down from around Job, he will curse you." So God took the protective hedge down and gave Satan to do whatever he would to Job - with the exception of taking his life.

Job lost everything he had -- including his own physical health. After the grueling, heartbreaking ordeal, God restored everything Job lost two-fold. Job lost his 10 children in a great wind -- but he was given 10 more children. You may ask, "How can that be restoring them two-fold?" Because Job then had 20 children -- 10 on earth, and 10 in Heaven. Children are a wonderful heritage from God -- the fruit of the womb. Today, Job is basking in Heaven's joy with all 20 children.

One of the most booming industries today is child-care. Children are being cared for and raised by others while Mom and Dad both work. Many parents squander those vital childhood years working to give them things when the most important thing they can confer upon them is time -- lots of time.

This also pertains to the man of God -- Paul told Timothy, concerning the job description of the pastor-teacher, that one great qualifier is that the man of God "rule well his own household." This is one of the most important duties he can render to his church. And the church and the ministry will reap great rewards for it.

It has been the sad testimony of many preacher's children that they didn't have a genuine relationship with the Lord until after they were grown and out on their own. Dad was too busy working 18 hours a day trying to "grow" a church for the Lord. Consequently, when the preacher's children go awry, it casts a horrible reflection on the ministry as well as the man of God. Pastors have been dismissed from churches because the children brought shame to him.

In 1 Samuel 2, Eli the priest, although faithful to administer the worship of the temple, had raised two devilish sons, Hophni and Phinehas. They desecrated the temple sacrifices, caused worshipers to abhor the offerings of the Lord, and committed fornication with women in the doorway of the temple. As a result of Eli's soft words through the years and his dereliction to his fatherly duties, God's judgment was pronounced upon his house. The sons both died the same day, and Eli and all his descendants were reduced to begging and lived shorter lifespans.

Church, when you drive past the parsonage and see your pastor out in the front yard rough-housing his kids, or playing catch with them, or teaching his girls how to ride their bikes, remember, these are not wastes of time. Your pastor is not neglecting the ministry -- he is performing a vital ministry, which is necessary for the enrichment of not only his family but for the church. When he is giving quality time to his kids, he is on the job!

Parents, you will make no greater investment in life, than to invest your time in your children. They will thank you in the years to come.

Perhaps that is one of the great perks of grandchildren. It gives us a second opportunity to pour our lives in precious little ones.

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Paul Gauntt currently serves as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Palmer.