In the state of Kentucky there are over 8,000 children in foster care. There are thousands more in other states across our nation. It is staggering the number of children that have been taken from their parents because of abuse, drug use, inhumane conditions and neglect. It is obvious that there are thousands of parents who are not fulfilling their God given responsibilities to their children. How sad for the children. How tragic the circumstances in the lives of so many precious children when parents fail to be parents.

The Bible places a special emphasis upon children and parental responsibility. God's view of children is stated in the words of Psalms 127:3-5, "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them." One of the most tragic of circumstances in Old Testament times was not being able to bear children. The writer of the book of Proverbs stated that there are three things that are never satisfied, one of which is "a barren womb" (Prov. 30:15-16). Those with the ability to conceive children should always recognize just how blessed they are.

Parents, you have the responsibility to provide for the physical needs of your children. 1 Timothy 5:8 says, "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." Parents who fail to provide for their children are committing both a grave injustice and sinning against their children and against God. Regardless of the circumstances, parents need to step up and provide the necessities of life for their children.

Parents, you have the responsibility to provide a home that is safe, stable and where love is continuously shown. Husbands and wives are to love one another (Ephesians 5:22ff). Parents and children are to love one another. Parents should never view their children as an inconvenience, but as one of their greatest God given blessings.

Parents, you are to provide for the spiritual needs of your children. This is your greatest responsibility! Ephesians 6:4 reads, "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." Every child has a soul which will exist in eternity in either heaven or hell. As a parent, you have it within your ability to influence and teach your children to love God and to follow His Word in their lives. So, what kind of parent are you?

(Jonnie Hutchison is an evangelist Green Plain Church of Christ in Clarksville, Tennessee. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this newspaper or the Murray Ledger & Times, where the comments originated.)