Some Thoughts On Being a Father
As some of you know, my wife and I are expecting the birth of our first child this upcoming March. For whatever reason, this thought I am articulating has struck me here and now. So, I sit here on Halloween…at work…in a pirate costume (yes…this is entirely true) thinking on what it means to be a father to a son. As I read through Scripture, it appears that there are endless examples of the kind of father that I should not be. I cannot be like Saul…so driven by my own desires and my own wants that in the end my jealousy destroys me and my son. I cannot be like David…who was slothful and absent as a father even to the point where Absalom sets one of his father’s general’s fields on fire, just to get his attention (Read 2 Samuel 14-15…some pretty chilling stuff and a true depiction of David’s lack of parenting). I cannot be like Jacob, playing favorites and expecting more from some children and not the same from others. So I am finding much of what not to do in parenting a son.
As I sit and think on what it means to be a father to a boy…I cannot help but feel an immense weight. I cannot help but think that how I raise my child and teach him to be a man will affect no only himself, but also his future spouse, his children, and all that encounter him. Not only this…but every action I take from this day forward will be vitally important in showing my son what it means to be a man who walks with God and follows the desires of God’s heart. This leads me to begin thinking on my call…my faithfulness as a minister of God’s word and whether or not it is time I finally get to it on a more fulltime basis…regardless of my current employment. I know that I would want my son to follow after God…his intent and desire for my son’s life is of the utmost importance to me and if I want my child to model obedience, than I will need to be sure that I am modeling obedience as well. I have also begun thinking about how I will protect my children from a world that is literally hell bent on twisting perceptions of truth into poisonous and toxic vehicles of death.
My wife and I have been married 7 years this year…and many ask why we have waited so long. I can assure you that our waiting was not a product of my wife…but of me. I have understood for quite some time the gravity of parenthood and have feared its implications and influence with that understanding, while I have been called to ministry and to church leadership in some capacity…that calling is not as frightful to me as that of parenthood. Most people look at a baby and see precious perfection and cuteness all wrapped up into a package. I see a person capable of any number of things as they grow older…and it is my job to make sure that none of those things are dishonoring to God. It is my responsibility to raise that little person into someone who honors and worships God shoving the proverbial spear into Satan every chance he gets. I am looking to train a mighty warrior for the gospel (regardless of their vocation) a man who reflects the savior I love and the God that I serve on a daily basis.
Ever since I have found out that my wife is pregnant, I have been fervently seeking the wisdom of God in how to guide them in living their lives in ways that honor and worship him. I am not concerned with the schooling…their extracurriculars…none of it…my singular goal is that they know God in Christ Jesus…that’s it. If I have attained this goal…and they have nothing else in common with me than I have succeeded in my mission and will know that my son will be a man who glorifies God and moves forward God’s kingdom. To some this might seem…dictative…it may seem…less than progressive, and to be honest they’re not wrong. I am not concerned with whether my son is happy…but I am concerned that he find contentment in the life God has handed to him. I am not concerned with whether he makes a lot of money, or is a sports star, or has excellent grades…but I do care whether he is a man of honor, virtue, courage, and boldness. I do not care if he roots for my Buffalo Bills (although I am going to try), or whether he thinks Superman is lame but I am going to care whether or not he seeks after God and makes him his first and only priority above all other things.
For many parents their goal is to have a child that likes what they like, succeeds in the things they (or the world around them) deems important, and that their child does it all with a smile on their face. I am not concerned with these things…my son will know how broken this world is…and how it is our responsibility as followers of Christ to bring people into restorative relationship with Christ. There are some people at my work that will talk about how wonderful their children are until they are blue in the face, not to give praise to their kids…but as a testament to their parenting. They boast in grades, sports, and so on…and while these kids might be great moral pillars that work hard and are successful at everything, they put their hand to…if they do not know Christ than that parent has failed their child. Now there are times where despite everything you have done a child turns their back on God in rebellion…if this is the case…you are not at fault. There is a point where the child is responsible for their own actions and when that point comes, you are no longer responsible for that in their lives. All you can do is pray, and seek God in how you can best show Jesus to them in your interactions with them.
I will be honest though…this prospect for me is one that breaks me almost instantly and if there is any fear that lies heaviest upon my heart for my own son…it is this one. Christ has saved me from myself on a daily, hourly…minute by minute basis…and if I did not have that…if I did not have that hope and that relationship, I would not be the person that I am today. I would not value the things of worth and value that are good, honest, and true. I pray that God be with me and my wife as we raise him, that God makes himself known and work s in him as He has in his mother and I and that he comes to love Him as we have come to love Him. This is of importance…this and only this. In comparison there is no other goal…there is no other mission. Peace and Blessings and as always thank you for reading.
In Christ’s Love
Justin (aka The Nerdy Theologian)