I once overheard a 20-something girl at the gym say that she would never have a baby. When I glanced up, she was making this horrible face, telling the guy beside her, “I would never do that to my body.”

Now, she did have a nicely sculpted body–the sort that I will never see in my mirror. But to be unwilling to give up physical perfection (she looked pretty perfect to me!) for motherhood? How sad.

This girl reminds me of a rich guy in the Bible. When he asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to get rid of all his stuff, then come follow Jesus. The guy left feeling really sad because he had achieved a life of wealth. Everybody knew him as the rich guy. It was too much to give up.

The girl at the gym reminds me of the rich guy because she had achieved the status and commodity of beauty. Everybody knew her as the girl at the gym with the perfect body. It was too much to give up.

Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that following Jesus always means giving up your six pack abs to make room for a baby. But I am saying Christians can’t have things that they won’t give up. If Jesus calls for something, we must be willing to give it up. Wealth, career, time, relationships, identity, physical appearance… Jesus demands that it all be at his disposal–even the bodies which feel like they belong to us.

Jesus poured his life out–body and all–as an offering, and gave it up for others. When we follow him, we’ve signed up to do the same. Motherhood always involves sacrifice and opportunity cost. It can even mean (for those who have one) giving up a sculpted body. But I can’t think of a more rewarding way to serve the Lord than through bearing children.

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