I have been working on a little devotional for fathers and thought I might share some of it with you from time to time. I know I need it!
“Therefore an overseer must…manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” 1 Timothy 3:4,5
What is God calling me to do as a father?
One way we can answer that question is by looking at the instructions God gives us throughout Scripture. Another way we could answer is by looking at the different models or pictures He gives to illustrate a father’s role.
For example, a pastor.
The relationship between a pastor and his church and the role pastors play in their church give us a picture of the father’s responsibilities in his home.
The work of a pastor is compared to the work of a father in 1 Timothy 3. When Paul gives out the qualifications of a godly pastor he says in 1 Timothy 3 that they must manage their own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, and here’s the kicker, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s?
A failure to manage your family disqualifies you from being a pastor, why? Because there’s a connection between the two. Paul makes a comparison, if you don’t know how to do the one, you won’t know how to do the other. And obviously, he wouldn’t compare these two jobs, of a pastor and a father, if there wasn’t something similar about their responsibilities.
No one would say for example if a man is going to be a good computer programmer he must first be good at farming because those two jobs don’t have much in common, but Paul can make this comparison between a father and a pastor, because these two jobs do!
That’s why when Paul talks about his own work as a minister of the gospel, he uses fatherhood as an illustration. The work of a pastor is illustrated as being like that of a father. Paul says to the Corinthians, “I became your father in Christ through the gospel.” And he tells the Thessalonians that they know how, he acted towards them, he says it was like a father with his children.
Which means if we want to know what special responsibilities God has given fathers we might look to a biblical pastor, and when we look at biblical pastors, what do we learn?
Here’s one. We learn that every father needs to manage his household.
That was Paul’s point back in 1 Timothy.
He said, if you don’t know how to manage your household, how will you know how to manage the family of God?
A pastor is a manager and so is a father.
You need step up and take responsibility for where your family is at and where your family is going and especially for the way your children are behaving. That’s where Paul’s mind goes when he thinks about managing in 1 Timothy 3, he must manage his household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity.
One of the things you see happening sometimes in families is that fathers just aren’t paying attention to what’s going on in their children’s lives. The children will be going crazy, climbing up the walls, rebellious, yelling, kicking and the father is sitting there totally unaware.
It is way too easy as a dad to be passive when it comes to what is actually happening in your families. A good manager is on the job, he’s not the owner who is away on vacation and has no idea what is happening at the company, no, the manager is responsible for the day to day operations. And fathers we need to own up to this responsibility.
We can’t just leave the managing responsibilities of our families to our wives. God’s called us to manage our homes. That doesn’t mean we do everything, a good manager doesn’t do everything, come on, but it does mean at the very least we feel a responsibility for what is happening in our families and we are engaged in directing our families down God’s path and doing what it takes to help our families go that direction.
Because we have this job like pastors of overseeing, managing.
Take Time to Reflect:
1. In what ways is the work of a father similar to the work of a pastor?
2. If your role as a father involves managing your household, are you an active manager or a passive one? What are some ways you can improve in managing your family?
A Practical Suggestion:
Make a list of the people in your immediate family. Under each person’s name write the following categories: Spiritual, physical, educational, emotional. Now evaluate how each of those individuals is doing in each of those areas. Where do they need to improve? What do they need to succeed in those areas? How can you help them?