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Where a Man Belongs (published in The North Weld Herald/Voice 8/25/11)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:16 PM by Fccea Webmaster
A little girl is about to bite into an apple when Mom yells, "Stop!" "Why?" she asks. "It may have pesticides that haven't been washed off yet." The girl looks at her mother with total admiration and asks, "How do you know all this stuff?" Thinking quickly, Mom replies, "Its on the mommy test. You have to know it, or they don't let you be a mommy." The daughter ponders this for a couple of minutes and then says, "I get it! Then if you flunk, you have to be the daddy!"

Cultural message received loud and clear -- Dad is a dufus! Fifty years ago, he was a pillar of society, but we have long since discovered that Dad is as dumb as a rock. Movies, television, and commercials, all play Dad as a well-intentioned but impossibly out-of-touch presence to be placated and then ignored.

The response of many husbands and fathers has been to grab a drink, adjourn to the couch, turn on the TV and tune out. This includes many ostensibly Christian husbands who have abdicated any spiritual responsibility on their way out the door to whatever work or sporting activity gets them off the hook.

But, is this God's plan? If spiritual leadership is solely the purview of wives and mothers, why are there twice as many instructions to fathers as to mothers in the book of Proverbs? Why did God address parental instructions specifically to "fathers" in the NT (Eph 6:4; Col 3:21)? Why is the husband specifically identified as the head of the home (Eph 5:23; I Cor 11:3)? The truth is, there is no support in God's Word for spiritual abdication on the part of Dad.

A godly man sets the moral and spiritual tone for his family by his example. He does not outsource the spiritual development of his children to his wife and the church. He does not opt for football and hobbies over church. He is there spiritually.

Spiritual development is a joint parental effort, but leadership from God's perspective devolves onto Dad. Countless mothers have had to fill in for an absentee father. But that whole scene emasculates Christian faith in the eyes of the children. No wonder they are leaving the faith after high school at the rate of 70-80%, depending on which survey you favor. If it's not real to us, it will never be real to them.

Dr. John Piper puts it bluntly in his book, Desiring God: "A famous cigarette billboard pictures a curly-headed, bronze-faced, muscular macho man with a cigarette hanging out the side of his mouth. The sign says, 'Where a man belongs.' That is a lie. Where a man belongs is at the bedside of his children, leading in devotion and prayer. Where a man belongs is leading his family to the house of God. Where a man belongs is up early and alone with God seeking vision and direction for his family."

Really, our choices are clear. We can take God's challenge -- be spiritual leaders however imperfectly, however haltingly, however unfamiliar it may be to us -- or we can quit, turn tail and run.

Need some help? Some encouragement? Want to rub shoulders with some other guys who are taking the challenge? Here's an opportunity. Men's Fraternity starts again on Thursday, September 15, at 6:00 am at the First Congregational Church. Men's Fraternity is a community, as opposed to church, program. All are welcome. Breakfast is provided and we will embark on a 16-week journey called "Winning at Work and Home." Fifteen guys completed "The Quest for Authentic Manhood" last year. We're looking for more this year. Come and join us. You won't regret it.

By His Grace, Pastor Dave