by Shawn Brasseaux
We remember our masculine progenitors on 21 June; hence the term, “Father’s Day.” Some of us here never had the opportunity to meet our biological fathers; sadly, others wish they had never met their fathers. Maybe you have a stepfather, or a grandfather, who serves as your father figure. On the other hand, my dad is still living, and I have known him all my life. Like all fathers, he has made mistakes. Now that he is a grandfather to my niece and nephew, he has the opportunity to learn from those mistakes he made with my two brothers and me all those years ago.
Recently, on my Geology Field Camp, I chatted with one of my classmates about parenting. When he said that had a baby son, I used that as an opportunity to give him some advice. He wanted to give his child everything he never grew up with. After he said he wanted his son to have “religion,” I simply told him Proverbs 22:6 KJV: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I told him that if he had a Bible at home, for him to highlight that verse, and to teach God’s Word to his son. I figured out that instead of attacking his denomination, I emphatically encouraged him to teach his son the Bible. I think he got the idea! 🙂
Now, back to my Dad. I am also a sinner, a son of Adam, so I cannot look down on my father for his mistakes. Though Dad did his best with my brothers and me, he could have taught us more from the Bible. I love Dad because he still has good attributes, and now he claims to be trying to do right. He has been saved for nearly 30 years, so I still pray that one day he would eventually try to make up for his mistakes by doing things differently as a grandparent.
Until our (former) local church split over 15 years ago, Dad was eager to take us to church every Sunday: the church split has since affected all of my family, except me because I was too young at the time. I think Dad was greatly affected spiritually, and it made him stumble in Christian walk with the Lord. This may have contributed to his spiritual problems. However, I want to comment on Dad’s good qualities.
Dad has always provided an income for our household, which is exactly what 1 Timothy 5:8 instructs: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” He always worked hard to put food on the table, even when economic times grew tough when I was quite young. Dad grew up on a farm, all of us still living on the farmland today (though it is no longer a functioning farm). His family worked the fields as he grew up, so he has good work ethics: even today, it is hard to get him to stop working and rest.
This is where my paternal grandfather comes into view. Dad’s dad never grew up with the Scriptures either, so he never taught Dad about God. Dad grew up in a false religion and had no childhood training in the Scriptures; regrettably, most of my dad’s family is still lost and unsaved today. Both of my parents were saved in 1980, and they shared the Gospel with their parents (my grandparents). Pawpaw (Dad’s dad) heard the Gospel, but he died in early 1989, the exact day I turned seven months old. As far as we know, he died without knowing the Lord, sadly. 😦 I was too young to remember sitting on his lap as an infant, and his enjoying my visit.
So, because Dad’s dad had no spiritual example to follow, Dad had no spiritual example to follow, and it hindered him from setting a spiritual example for us. Still, I have to give Dad credit that he did his best trying to teach us some Bible material—as I said, though, it was mostly Mom who taught us from the Bible.
Now is a good time to bring up this point: it is not primarily the wife’s responsibility to teach the children about God and His Word. God has ordained the husband to be the head of the household. The Christian household is analogous to the organization of the Church the Body of Christ. Look at Ephesians 5:22-25 KJV for clarification:
“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”
The husband is the spiritual leader of the household, just as Christ is the spiritual leader of the Church, the Body of Christ. Consider Ephesians 6:4 KJV: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Remember, the wife is of no lesser value than the husband; it is simply God holding the man responsible for the spirituality of the household. God does not want to burden the woman with a responsibility of this magnitude.
It is the role of the husband to instruct his family in the Scriptures: as Genesis 2:18 says, his wife is his “help meet,” his companion. The wife should teach the children the Scriptures too, but it is the man’s responsibility to be the spiritual leader of the household. In the absence of a spiritual leader (death of the Christian husband, or an unsaved husband), the poor Christian wife and mother is burdened. She is forced to play the role of the spiritual leader, a role she cannot adequately fulfill because God has not designed her to fulfill that responsibility. This is the role a man should be fulfilling because he has been designed to fulfill it. Mom had to endure that burden at times: she could only do so much. God will hold the husband responsible for the lawlessness in the household, not the wife.
Men and husbands, please do not abuse you position of spiritual leadership. Do not rule with an iron fist, as Ephesians 6:4 states: “nurture,” train your children in love, not in anger or tyranny. Compare with 1 Thessalonians 2:11 KJV: “As ye know how we exhorted [urged] and comforted and charged [instructed] every one of you, as a father doth his children,” As a father, you should be encouraging your children to do what is right (also Proverbs 22:6).
However, do not be idle and loose, letting your children do whatever they please, no matter how vile or worldly the action may be. One of the qualifications for a bishop (pastor) or a deacon was to have his children saved, taught in the Scriptures, and living respectable lives (1 Timothy 3:1-12; Titus 1:6). For our young men out there, please keep this information in mind—you too will be a husband in the future, and you need to be taught correctly now so that you can correctly teach your own children one day.
You will one day be a masculine progenitor to someone: be the example, the living Bible for all to see… especially those impressionable future generations….