Judges 13:1-8, 24-25
As a father of three, I have often complained to my wife about the high cost of raising children; but I have never actually calculated what each of them will cost by the time they graduate from high school. Fortunately, we now have new “ammunition” when our children ask for some money for a new game or outfit, thanks to the US Department of Agriculture. Their annual report “Expenditures on Children by Families” tells us that a middle-income family raising a child born in 2010 can expect to spend, adjusted for inflation, over $286,860 by the time the child leaves the nest. If you are like me and live in the Northeast, the cost is even higher, just under $350,000. Mark Lino, the economist in charge of the report, noted that the good news is that the figure only rose 2 % percent over last year’s figure, which normally sees a 3.2% increase. Of course, the reason for the decrease is not good news. “The economy has taken a downturn so people are cutting back on some items.”1
My wife and I certainly knew that adding children to our otherwise quiet abode would bring additional costs, but it is staggering to think about how much these costs actually are. Manoah and his wife had no children, and did not expect to, until an angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife and told her what was about to happen. The angel also gave her some very explicit instructions regarding how to raise the child. Some things would cost money. Others might cost some social standing or, at the least, might bring some strange looks. An entire generation of Jews had been ruled by the Philistines. Now their deliverer had come, as a child. Another child came later in Jewish history, one who would deliver not just the Jews, but all people. And this child would provide deliverance not just from the Philistines, but from the very sin that separated human beings from God. Jesus’ parents incurred costs in raising him, but the biggest cost came to Mary as she saw her oldest son dying on the cross. Christ has paid all the costs needed to give us life eternal. All we have to do is accept the deliverance he has provided.
1. Do you think the figures in the report are accurate? Did the high cost surprise you? You can access the entire report here: www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/CRC/crc2010.pdf.
2. In the Bible, God often chose infertile couples to have a child who would deliver the people from oppression. Why do you think God chose such people to help carry out his great works?
3. What do you think is important to teach children as they grow up? What did you learn as a child that you wished everyone knew? Is there anything you have not taught your children that you now wish you had?
1 From http://www.nj.com/parenting/carmen_juri/index.ssf/2011/07/federal_analysis_shows_that_to.html