"THE SPIRITUAL LEADER OF THE HOME"
"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD"-JOSHUA 24:15
It was the week before Father's day that my mind was turned to the scriptures in search of a text appropriate for a Father's day discourse. Joshua's words, "As for me and my house", seemed to echo in my soul as I began to consider the implications of these words for Father's day, 2001. Like a clap of thunder the pinnacle of Joshua's expression came down on me; the focal point of all that he said emerged into this one short sentence: the primary responsibility of a father is to be the spiritual leader of the home.
Not too long ago, a survey was conducted of over 700 high school students asking their thoughts on the ten most desirable qualities of a father. At the top of the list was found, owning a good looking car, being prominent in social life, making plenty of money, never nagging their children about what they should do and respecting their children's opinions. Answers similar to these would probably have been found in Joshua's day had they taken a poll of their children. As I read over the survey I could not help thinking how easy that we, as fathers, can either forget or neglect our primary role in the home and the answers to the survey are, in reality, the fatherly role image projected in the eyes of many children. It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to make children happy with things rather than God. This is the challenge of a "spiritual leader".
If you will carefully notice Joshua's words you discover that Joshua must come first: "As for me". Ah, Joshua must first serve the Lord before he can lead his own family. There are many fathers whose desire for their children is a holy one. They would like for their offspring to confess Christ and walk in righteous paths. Yet, the image they project is a contradiction to their mind. I have known some that would say they are embarrassed to talk to their children about Jesus Christ and not flinch as they sat with their children and watched ungodly acts on television while drinking an adult beverage. Surely this is evidence of their own love for Christ. "As for me" must come first!
If a father is the spiritual leader of his own house he must know something about the word of God himself. To the father's of Ephesus Paul commands, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord"-6:4. Nurture means under the education and tutorage of the scriptures. Admonition means calling attention to the scriptures. Thus, for the spiritual leader he may say to his own, "it is not my opinion, it is God's." Apparently, the men of Corinth were shirking this responsibility as well. Do we observe a common problem here? Paul rebuked the men by saying: "Quit ye like men"(I Corinth. 16:3). That means, "act the part of a real man." Television and popular advertisements set forth the idea that being a man is drinking, fighting and etc. But a real man is not under the control and power of these things. God's man is a spiritual leader. I am persuaded that this role is the most difficult feat that any man can accomplish. In the eyes of God it is greater than becoming a king or a millionaire. Available to every father, yet it may only be achieved by the grace of God. Let us pray for fathers today and ask God to help us fulfill our God given role as the "spiritual leader" of the home.
Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church. Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor.