Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fatherhood 101

I'll be the first to admit - when it comes to fathering - I've got a long way to go. Many of the men I make time for in my life are men I can learn from when it comes to one of the most important jobs I'll ever have - fathering.

With only a limited number of hours in a day, week, or month, I know how important every decision I make regarding my time is. Saying 'Yes' to something that pulls me away from my home and family, is saying 'No' to my family. As men, we need to make hard calls and learn to live as Christ lived - sacrificially. We can't say yes to every ballgame, sports league, or guys outing that doesn't include our families. Doing so will greatly tarnish your familial legacy, or even worse, cause your children to reject the God you desire them to follow because, in their eyes, God stole their dad.

The decisions we make with our time will have far reaching implications with our children and families. Some things need our time - work, keeping up our homes and vehicles, time alone with our spouse, etc.- but others, not so much. Personally, I grew up a big sports buff, a jock if you will. I lettered in football, baseball, and swimming in high school, and was captain my senior year of several of those teams. When I wed, and even after having my first child, I still tried to maintain and feed my appetite for athletics that I thought I couldn't live without. I joined sports leagues, spent Saturday afternoons with friends at the field, and tried to catch every ball game on TV. All this was on top of working over 40 hours a week, so you can imagine, my wife and daughter didn't get much of me; and what they did get was usually left overs.

It took the Lord moving in my heart and me choosing to obey His voice to make the changes necessary to bring me back home - where I belonged. It wasn't easy, and it didn't happen over night. The changes were gradual, and even today, with eight wonderful children, I'll still catch the occasional ball game (playoffs usually), and keep up with the NFL, MLB, and NBA by listening to sports talk on my drive to/from work. My boys and I are big Chicago Bears fans, so this year is starting off great with them being in first place with a 4-1 record!

I believe the Lord speaks to men about their activities all the time, but unfortunately, most Christian men ignore what He's saying to them because of what obeying it might mean. How sad, that a team or game which has no soul, feels no emotions, and  knows none of its devotees names, is valued more to many men than their own children or wives. How many men opt out of church or bible study because there's a game on that they  absolutely can't miss? I've seen and heard this far too often, even in my own my life, before I chose to obey the voice of God.

My word to you guys is this: Don't make time for the temporal by sacrificing the eternal. Your wife and kids need your time - not your money or possessions - your time. An hour with dad to a 8 year little boy or girl is like a whole day in their eyes. Sitting on the couch with your kids gathered around conveys to your family that they really matter and that dad means what he says about God. The Lord will hold us responsible for how we bring up our children (Eph. 6: 4), and how we love our wives (Eph. 5: 25), and in order to accomplish both of these commandments, somethings gotta give.

So build you an altar, lay your time consuming activities on it, gather your family around, choose to obey the voice of the Lord, and let the bonfire begin - I'll bring the marshmallows!

Feel free to share a comment of how God has changed what you choose to spend your time on, I'd love to read about it!


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