God's Bairns

March 7, 2006
by John Stuart

Romans 8:16 – The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. (NIV)

There are two words for "children" in Scotland. "Weans" is one of them, and the other is "bairns". Usually, variation in usage was regional, dictated by the coast: east or west. I grew up in the west of Scotland, so the word "weans" (pronounced waynes) was what I most commonly heard.

There was, however, one sentence that everyone in Scotland used when describing the unity of the Scottish people. It was "We're all Jock Tamson's bairns." It conveys the idea that we're all one family, all connected and all united. You hear it quite a lot when people make agreements, or even when they repair disagreements.

But who was Jock Tamson? And why are we all his bairns? Jock Tamson or John Thompson, was a Presbyterian pastor in 18th century Scotland, who dearly loved his congregation and was a great storyteller to the children of his parish. He never ignored a call for help and didn't exclude anyone from the blessings of the church. His congregation loved him dearly. As the years of his ministry passed and the children under his care grew up, people began to identify themselves as being "Jock Tamson's bairns". They did this as a mark of respect to their beloved pastor, but also they took a great pride in being part of a loving community, which was embraced by Jock Tamson's ministry and faith. Within a couple of generations, the phrase became well known throughout Scotland and is still used today.

Paul writes to us in this passage to the Romans about the Christian equivalent: we are all God's children, or, if you like, God's bairns. It means that we are connected to one another through the blessings of faith. We are participants in a blessed community. We are the heirs to God's love and everlasting joy.

So, today, let us remember that all believers are God's children, chosen and adopted by Him, embraced and loved by our Saviour, called and blessed by the Holy Spirit, both now and always.

Prayer: Father God, we are delighted to be called Your children, and we hope that our lives please You. We feel blessed to know of Your love, and we are strengthened by the gift of Your Spirit. Be with us this day. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

John Stuart <traqair@aol.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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