Dads Are The Spiritual Leaders Of The Family

Dads Are The Spiritual Leaders Of The Family

In late 2007, Tom Block stunned the corporate world when he resigned as chief executive officer of H&R Block, the giant tax preparation and financial services firm, to become a teacher at St. Francis Xavier middle school in Kansas City, Missouri.  His annual salary dropped by 97%, but he gained something more important to him- time with his two sons.

Do most dads share his perspective about how critical their role as father is?  I would guess that many men put in serious, responsible, creative effort at their jobs, but end up being pretty passive in their role as fathers once they get home and it is time (as they see it) to rest or get caught up on home or yard projects.

But you Christian fathers are different.  You know that being a father is a high calling and serious responsibility with implications for all eternity.  You know that God has made you the spiritual leader of the family.  And by faith, you take that role seriously- just like Job did.

“His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular custom.” (Job 1:4,5)The spiritual welfare of his children was always on Job’s mind and heart, so he regularly interceded for them.  Christian fathers also care deeply about the spiritual welfare of their children and regularly pray for them, asking God to be merciful to them, forgive them, and keep them in the faith.

Christian fathers are as determined as Joshua to lead their families in a life of faith and godliness. They do not go with the flow, parenting like everyone else does, conforming to the lifestyles, values, and priorities that are common in our culture.  Their actions reflect Joshua’s conviction, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

They don’t surrender the spiritual teaching duties to mom or the church.  They take the lead in that, as God tells them to do: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) They want to be the men Hezekiah describes this way in Isaiah 38:19, “Fathers tell their children about your faithfulness.” And they start as early as David started with his son Solomon, who said, “When I was a boy in my father’s house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said, “Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. (Proverbs 4:3-5) Teaching them to fish, hunt, work on a car, play a sport, fix or build stuff is secondary to teaching them God’s saving Word.

Christian fathers not only teach the Word of God to their children, they guide and lead family life according to the Word of God in a firm but loving way.  “He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.” (1 Timothy 3:4)  “What son is not disciplined by his father?” (Hebrews 12:7)

But what does a dad do if he doesn’t feel up to the task?  He prays and asks God for help and guidance.  He confesses his weaknesses and is renewed by forgiveness freely given in Jesus. He goes to church and Bible Class to grow in faith, love, and knowledge of God’s Word.  He gets support and direction from his pastor or a fellow Christian dad.  What he does NOT do is do little.  He loves his kids and his God too much to do that.  And the work is too important.  And since it is work that God, in his grace, has given him to do, he confidently trusts that God, in is grace, will enable him to do it.