Temporary But Not Optional

Steve Arterburn

There’s a growing tendency in our culture to minimize the importance of the father’s role in the family. In fact, there have even been studies that attempt to demonstrate the father’s place in the family is not that important to the family’s overall health and functionality. It’s just not true!

 

Of course, there are other ways families can rally to help offset the absence of a father. Thousands upon thousands of godly single moms labor faithfully to nurture their children toward healthy, productive adult life. But even these moms know their love and efforts aren’t enough, that their children need the balancing influence of a male presence. And thank God again for godly brothers, uncles, grandfathers, and others standing in the gap for children lacking their father’s presence. But those exceptions only help prove the rule: a father’s role isn’t optional.

Yet while a father’s role isn’t optional, it is temporary. One expert states that about 90% of a child’s personality has been set in place by age six. What that means, guys, is that every day counts. Every day that passes is a day fathers are impacting their children with some idea of what fatherhood is about’ideas that will greatly influence their understanding of what the fatherhood of God is all about. My point is this dads: be present, and live in the present.

Ode To My Dad

My dad was probably the hardest-working man I’ve ever known. He worked for twenty years at a large university in Texas while also running drive-in restaurants and selling real estate. He was simply an outstanding provider for our family.

One of the reasons my dad worked so hard was because he got a late career start. His father owned a successful machine shop during the days of the Texas oil boom. Somehow my dad was chosen to help his father manage the business while his four brothers went off to college. Then the oil boom ended and the family business floundered. My dad was left without either a career or a college education.

Men’s careers often take unplanned and unwanted turns, don’t they? It’s easy to incur mishaps, expenses, and responsibilities, and then feel stuck. I imagine more men today feel like they have jobs rather than careers. That can be a debilitating feeling, especially if you’ve got one of those ‘change the world’ types of dispositions.

I know my dad quietly struggled with those feelings. He sacrificed to serve his father, and played catch-up for the rest of his life. Yet he succeeded at honorably providing for his family despite his late start. For that I hold him in the highest esteem.

Men, sometime you have no choice but to grow where you’re planted. When that’s the case, don’t lose heart. There’s always something to be, even if you’re not crazy about what you do.

Consistency In Spiritual Leadership

Steve Arterburn

Men, not only should you be comfortable in leading your family in worship, you should be the most consistent among them when it comes to cultivating your own personal life of worship. Remember, the character and quality of our public leadership is a direct by-product of the character and quality of our private discipleship. You simply can’t give your family what you don’t possess yourself.

Men, consistency in private discipleship brings intimacy with the Lord; and intimacy with the Lord puts you in the position to bring life and truth to your family. Without it, you’ll have little fresh understanding with which to guide them.

How consistent are you when it comes to praying? How consistently do you lead your family in Bible study and prayer? Sure, no one’s busier than you. I know that, and I share your predicament. But the simple reality remains: each of us must make it a top priority to carve out time in our day-to-day lives to lead our families in this area.

Remember guys, many of the most important issues in our children’s lives will be caught rather than taught. They’re watching your example. If you’re not praying together as a family, then all your talk about God’s being the center of your marriage and family is just that’talk.

Make family worship or devotional time a priority. Be disciplined about following through. Model your faith with action. It’ll give your family someone to respect and someone to emulate.