Prioritizing Fatherhood

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What Really Comes First?

Several months ago I went to meet up with my friend at a local restaurant. As we sat at the table sounds of multiple conversations taking place at the same time was the backdrop to what seemed to be a more important conversation than I had anticipated. 

The man in front of me was a giant of spiritual inspiration for me, but at this moment he was nothing more than an average size guy sitting at the table. For years I had looked up to Ray as a spiritual authority in my life. His biblical knowledge was far beyond mine and he had the ability to explain Bible passages in ways that made sense to the seasoned Christian and the new believer alike.

But Ray had a major problem. His family life wasn’t what it should have been. He was working 10 hours a day, going to school part-time, working out multiple times a week, attempting to be a leading figure in his Church, studying the Bible each day and finally, being a husband to his wife and father to his four children. 

My life was different from Ray’s, but I could sympathize. I am a husband to my wonderful wife and a father to my two children, I study the Bible every day and am a leader in the Church I attend. I work 8 hours a day and wish the Lord could give me what everyone longs for – more time. It was obvious that something was off by the order in which he described his life. His job was the first thing he mentioned, meanwhile, his children were a final afterthought.

A Father’s Mission Field

If work has become what defines us as men then we need to re-order our lives. Our walk with God should be the total and complete focus of everything we do. If we work 8 hours a day, we need to do that work unto the Lord. If we are with our wife and kids, we should be pointing them to God. Jesus should be our life. 

Jesus instructs us to, “make disciples of all the nations.” (Matt. 28:19) and our mission field as fathers is first and foremost to our wife and children. If we are neglecting to lead our family in discipleship on a daily basis we are missing the major portion of what God has called us to do. 

In my parents’ generation, it was common for missionaries to go abroad and put their children in boarding school in order to accomplish mission work but the fact that the Church allowed this to happen tells me that one of our greatest callings as Christ followers was being neglected: the mission to be godly husbands and fathers.

Loving God Through Family

The Bible tells us:

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might…You shall teach this diligently to your children… (Deut. 6:4,7)

This does not mean we need to turn our houses into monasteries and devote our family time to nothing but Bible reading and prayer. However, if life is so busy that you are not spending time with God and your family on a daily basis you need to re-evaluate your priorities and consider what is most important in your life. The fact is God has given each father a calling. It is our charge to love our wives, to raise godly children, and to shine the light of Christ to those around us through our families. 

Speaking to others about the Bible is powerful, but words mean nothing if we do not live as godly fathers and husbands. Our mission field is first and foremost to our homes. 

Further Resources

Want to know what the Bible says about being a good father? Check out this post by All Pro Dad titled 10 Things Scripture Says about Being a Father

Featured Image by Geovanny Velasquez

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