Later this year I will have the honor of speaking at a Men’s Conference at my home church. The 2013 Why Me? Men’s Conference will be August 9th & 10th and I will be speaking on something near and dear to my heart, being a dad. The title of my talk those two days will be “I Am Not Ashamed to be a Dad!” There are many things that I am to a lot of people. However I place the title of “Dad” above all but “Husband” and “Child of God”. Over the next few Monday’s I will be posting parts of my class on here for the dads and Husbands of Homeschooling moms. I would love to see you there if you can make it, but if not, here is one of the classes…
Titus 1:6 – 9 ~ One who is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of wildness or rebellion. For an overseer, as God’s administrator, must be blameless, not arrogant, not hot-tempered, not addicted to wine,, not a bully, not greedy for money, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled, holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it.
This is speaking to the life of a pastor, a person who is called to be a model. If a young man wants to be a pastor, his kids cannot be punks. A man must keep his family on track before he can be expected to keep a greater group on the right path.
As a Children’s Church Director / AWANA teacher I get to influence kids for good so long as I spend time with them. I get about 2 hours a week and that time can be a powerful time of life’s transformation. How much more, then should my potential be for influencing my own family? They are with me hours and hours and hours each week. So it makes sense: if I can not impact THEM with my life, how will I ever expect to influence those who get so much less of me?
I have to labor at building the boundaries for my children…and it is not easy. Let me show you a few passages in scripture that relates to negligent fathers, who were spineless toward their children.
1 Samuel 3: 1-14 The boy Samuel served the Lord in Eli’s presence. In those days the word of the Lord was rare and prophetic visions were not widespread. 2 One day Eli, whose eyesight was failing, was lying in his room. 3 Before the lamp of God had gone out, Samuel was lying down in the tabernacle of the Lord, where the ark of God was located. 4 Then the Lord called Samuel, and he answered, “Here I am.” 5 He ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”“I didn’t call,” Eli replied. “Go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. 6 Once again the Lord called, “Samuel!”Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; you called me.”“I didn’t call, my son,” he replied. “Go back and lie down.” 7 Now Samuel had not yet experienced the Lord, because the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8 Once again, for the third time, the Lord called Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli understood that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 He told Samuel, “Go and lie down. If He calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.10 The Lord came, stood there, and called as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel responded, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” 11 The Lord said to Samuel, “I am about to do something in Israel that everyone who hears about it will shudder. 12 On that day I will carry out against Eli everything I said about his family, from beginning to end. 13 I told him that I am going to judge his family forever because of the iniquity he knows about: his sons are defiling the sanctuary, and he has not stopped them. 14 Therefore, I have sworn to Eli’s family: The iniquity of Eli’s family will never be wiped out by either sacrifice or offering.”
Eli was a spiritual leader with little spiritual perception. He was slow in recognizing God’s voice calling out to Samuel in the night. And, he was slow to react when his sons brought shame to God. They were intentionally and blatantly dishonoring God with their lips and Eli chose to look the other way. Maybe he was in over his head with work in the temple. Maybe he was busy counseling couples in the community. Maybe he just didn’t want to deal with it. For whatever reason, Eli did not restrain his boys and God brought judgement upon him. It is the role of the father and also of the mother to put boundaries on kids.
I thank God for my wife. She is a no-nonsense woman and she is much better at setting boundaries than I am. And let me say this: Sometimes my wife sets boundaries that are closer than I would set them, but I need to respect those boundaries with children. And vice versa. I might be more strict about something, but it is destructive for her to ridicule my rule in front of the kids as it would be for me to do the same.