Setting The Future
A scripture I read a couple of months ago has repeatedly come back to challenge me both as a pastor and as a Dad
14 I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. 15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
1 Cor 4:14-17 (NIV)
The word guardian (Greek – paidagogos) is more fully translated as school teachers, tutors or instructors. Specifically those who teach little children.
Paul contrasts this with the role he believed was required … father (Greek – pater).
In urging us to imitate his life Paul is speaking to those who were intimately involved in his life, not as a teacher on a platform but as someone they knew in daily life. He is able to use Timothy because of his “sonship”. Timothy’s real personal knowledge of Paul’s lifestyle not just his teaching.
In 1 Samuel 2 we have the history of Samuel’s life, a miracle child who is brought up by Eli, a priest who is clearly a poor father. Eli’s sons are described as wicked men (1 Sam 2:12) and his attempts to correct them are ineffective (1 Sam 2:22-25). Despite this Samuel grows up to hear God and minister in power as a prophet.
Then in 1 Samuel 8 we see the life pattern repeated. Samuel’s children are wicked, taking bribes and not following God.
Although Samuel learned to follow & serve God he never learned parenting because his role model was Eli.
Following Samuel we then have Saul & David as kings. But David a gifted anointed leader grew up in a dysfunctional home. He was despised & rejected by his own father & brothers. He was not even considered worth calling back from the fields when Samuel came to visit and held a feast (1 Sam 16).
Although David saw many victories as king his household was in constant turmoil. One son raped a sister, another son tried to steal the crown and his heir Solomon was a serial womanizer.
Solomon’s own son, Rehoboam didn’t follow God and lost most of the kingdom due to his inability to listen to sound counsel.
Fathers set the tone of households! My own parents were not bad parents but I determined in my heart to let God shape me and correct me in order to become the father my kids needed so that they would be able to do all God had planned for them. I have constantly tried to seek God’s counsel for being a parent. I saw the need to establish a different pattern of life … one based on God’s Word not my ideas … one based on the Holy Spirit’s guidance rather than my emotions.
The results are still to be proved but my children are serving the Lord at the moment despite my mistakes.
So what pattern are you basing your parenting upon? How open to God’s leading and retraining are you? He is the greatest father around.