Friday, April 24, 2009
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Our son really likes to read. In fact, he's got this spot by his office window where he likes to sit in the morning and read as the sunshine comes streaming in. The one book he reads there every morning is his Bible. He wants to make sure he gets his time with Jesus right at the top of the day. But this particular day was particularly unforgettable because as he opened his eyes from praying, there was a little chair next to his big chair and our precious two-year-old granddaughter was there reading (well, as much reading as a two-year-old can do) a book. It was her toddler's Bible, and there was one like melted daddy all over the floor.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Playing 'Catch' With Daddy."
Did you know children are playing "catch" with their dads all the time? They spend their lives catching how we live, catching how we talk, catching our ways of responding, and catching our walk with God or lack thereof. Faith is contagious. So is apathy.
The spiritual responsibility of the man of the house is a recurring theme throughout the Bible, starting with the very first man. After Eve violated the restrictions God gave Adam regarding the tree of life in the Garden of Eden, God didn't come looking for Eve. He walked the garden, calling, "Where are you, Adam?" (Genesis 3:9) It was clear the buck stopped with the man. When aging Sarah laughed at God's promise that she and Abraham would have a child in their old age, guess who God asked about why she didn't believe? He didn't ask Sarah. He asked Abraham as if He was saying, "You mean after all these years around you, she doesn't have any more faith than that?" By New Testament times, God identifies the man as the Christ-figure of the home, responsible to lead the home by loving his wife with the same kind of sacrificing love that Jesus showed us.
Then, in our word for today from the Word of God, He defies our culture's copout misconception that the man is just the physical provider while the spiritual provider of the home is the woman. Ephesians 6:4 shows us what the manufacturer's manual says about how the family is designed to run: "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Dad, you're God's designated spiritual coach for your son or your daughter. He's counting on you to "instruct" them; to regularly explain God's love and God's ways to them. And He's expecting you to "train" them it says, to show them by your life what God is like, and to model for them a consistent, powerful relationship with Him. How are you doing, Coach?
Just look at your children and you may very well be looking into a mirror of the vitality and reality of your own relationship with Jesus Christ. If you're cool or cold toward God, you'll probably see it in them. If you're excited about God, about His Word, about His work, you'll probably see it in them. If you're negative and critical spiritually and they hear a lot about what's wrong with Christians, don't be surprised if they don't want much to do with Jesus. If your actions contradict your Christian words, it will be hard for them to think of Jesus as very real. If they see you responding to problems by trusting God in prayer, that's what they'll learn to do. And if they see you seeking your Lord regularly in the Bible, you may even find them next to you one day, seeking Him, too.
If you're like most of us guys, you don't like to do things you don't feel secure doing, and you may not feel secure trying to step up to spiritual leadership at home. You're afraid you'll fail. But you know, the only way you can really fail is if you don't do it. You won't nag your son or daughter into loving and following Jesus. You won't legislate them into it. Children learn what they live. Make sure as they live with you, that they're living with a walking, talking example of a man who's just in love with Jesus.