Last night I was in the lovely home of a business executive and his wife. The furniture was tastefully appointed, expensive cars filled the driveway, maids scurried about. Impressive and enviable.
This attractive couple routinely host Bible studies, conduct all night prayer vigils, go on mission trips, and consistently lead people to Christ. They are generous with their resources beyond measure. Their commitment to Christ and His cause is without question.
These folks have it together, wouldn’t you say? Sadly, the answer is “No”. How is this possible?
The answer lies in the fact that they are failing in the most basic area of their lives: Their children.
In the home confusion reigns. The children are angry, flustered… disrespectful. There is constant jostling for control between parents and children. The decibel level is deafening.
Guests find it difficult to carry on conversation without being interrupted. Rather than a place of refuge, the home is a center for chaos and discord.
Involvement in God’s work does not absolve us of parental responsibility as Eli, the priest discovered: “For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them. Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli‘s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.” (1 Samuel 3:13-14)
Missionary stateswoman Helen Morken has sagaciously observed, “Many Christians have forsaken their children for the mission, living to see their children undo their mission, realizing too late that their children were the mission.”
Paul reminds us that an elder “must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his household how will he take care of the church of God?)” (1 Timothy 3:4, 5)
The term “manage well” presents the idea of order, discipline, planning, superintending; of giving direction. Literally of “presiding with beauty or excellence.”
The Christian husband and father is to lead his family with dignity. That is, he is to guide them with reverence, respect, gravity and sanctity. It is one thing to control one’s family with harshness and cold directives, and quite another to lead with firm compassion.
It has been our observation that chronic behavioral problems are usually an indication of a failure in parenting —generally centering on the father’s failure to lead his family in a Biblical manner.
May God help us to not miss it here!