“There are some fathers who seem to forget that any share of the burden and duty of making the home-life belongs to them. They leave it all to the mothers. They come and go as if they were scarcely more than boarders in their own house, with no active interest in the welfare of their children. They plead the demands of business as the excuse for their neglect. But where is the business that is so important as to justify a man’s evasion of the sacred duties which he owes to his own family? There cannot be any other work in this world which a man can do, that will excuse him at God’s bar for having neglected the care of his own home and the training of his own children. No success in any department of the world’s work can possibly atone for failure here. No piling up of this world’s treasures can compensate a man for the loss of those incomparable jewels – his own children.
“In the prophet’s parable (1 Kings 20:35-43), he said to the king, “As thy servant was busy here and there he was gone.” May not this be the only plea that some fathers will have to offer when they stand before God without their children: “As I was busy here and there, they were gone”? Men are busy in their worldly affairs – busy pressing their plans and ambitions to fulfillment, busy gathering money to lay up a fortune, busy chasing the world’s honors and building up a name, and busy in the quest for knowledge. And while they are busy, their children grow up; and when they turn to see if they are getting on well, they are gone. Then they try most earnestly to get them back again, but their intensest efforts avail nothing. Then it is too late to do that blessed work for them and upon their lives, which could so easily have been done in their tender years. There is a book which opens with these words: “Some things God gives often; some He gives only once. The seasons return again and again, and the flowers change with the months; but youth comes twice to none.” Childhood comes only once with its opportunities. Whatever is done to stamp it with beauty must be done quickly!
“It does not matter how capable, how wise, and how devoted the mother of the family may be; the fact that she does her part well does not free the father, in any degree, from his share of the responsibility. Duties cannot be transferred. No other one’s faithfulness can excuse or atone for my unfaithfulness. Besides, it is a wrong and an unmanly thing for a strong and capable man (who claims to be ‘the stronger vessel’) to seek to put off on a woman (whom he calls ‘the weaker vessel’) the duties and responsibilities which clearly belong to himself. There is a certain sense in which the mother is the real homemaker. It is in her hands that the tender life is laid for its first impressions. In all its education and culture, she comes closer to it. Her spirit makes the home-atmosphere. Yet from end to end of the Scriptures, the Word of God makes the father the head of the household; and as such, it devolves upon him the responsibility for the upbuilding of his home, the training of his children, and the care of all the sacred interests of his family. Fathers should wake up to the fact that they have something to do in making the life of their own homes, besides providing food and clothing and paying taxes and bills. They owe to their homes the best influences of their lives! Whatever other duties press upon them, they should always find time to plan for the good of their own households.
“The very center of every man’s life should be his home. Instead of being to him a mere boarding-house where he eats and sleeps, and from which he starts out in the mornings to his work; it ought to be the place where his heart is anchored, where his hopes gather, to which his thoughts turn a thousand times a day, for which he toils and struggles, and into which he always brings the richest and best things of his life. He should realize that he is responsible for the character and the influence of his home-life; and that if it fails to be what it ought to be, the blame and guilt must lie upon his soul.
“Socrates used to say that he wondered how men who were so careful of the training of a colt were indifferent to the education of their own children. Yet even in these Christian days, men are found – men professing to be followers of Christ, and who claim to believe in the superiority of life itself to all other things – who give infinitely more thought and pains to the raising of cattle, the growing of crops, and the building up of business than to the training of their children. Something must be crowded out of every earnest, busy life. No one can do everything that comes to his hand. But it will be a fatal mistake if any father allows his duties to his home to be crowded out! Rather, they should have the first place. Anything else is better neglected than his own children. Even religious work in the Kingdom of Christ at large must not interfere with one’s religious work in the Kingdom of Christ in his home. No man is required by the vows and the spirit of his consecration to keep other men’s vineyards so faithfully that he cannot keep his own. The fact that a man has been a devoted pastor or a diligent church-officer or a faithful Sunday-school superintendent or teacher will not atone for the fact that he was an unfaithful father!”
Dear fathers, Mr. Miller’s words on this subject really need no further word of commentary; so I will simply conclude this article with a word of pleading. No matter how busy you may be in anything else that fills your daily life, I appeal to you to never allow your relationship with and responsibilities towards your children to be made a concern of secondary importance. Please do not let your wives – no matter how godly and capable they may be – to be the only one who takes an active interest in your children’s eternal souls. Pray for the Lord’s grace to cause the best influences of your lives to those which are displayed in your own homes and families, so that you may not have to give that awful account to the Lord on the last day: “As I was busy with everything else in my life, my children and my family were gone.”
Do you have any thoughts on the subject of Biblical fatherhood that you would like to share with the rest of our readers? Feel free to share encouragement and ask questions in the comments section below!
God bless you and your family, this day and always.
All for the King’s glory,
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