Friday, August 18, 2006

[Leading The Way] Returning to Patriarchy

My friend Danny wants to know: "Is it possible to "turn" a passive father into an active leader?"

I say, Yes, in the same way a wife "turns" her husband into an active leader… Leaders need followers—submissive followers—those who line up on the same team by choice.

But, where the difference comes in is… whereas a wife has a duty and obligation to submit to her own husband, a grown man does not have that same duty and obligation to his father.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. —Gen. 2:24
We are nonetheless to honor our father and mother our entire lives that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. (Eph. 6:2-3; cf. Ex. 20:12) So you "turn" your father into a leader by honoring him, seeking his advice as one who is wise. He's lived longer than you have… he's made some mistakes from which he has learned valuable lessons; ask him about them—not in such a way that he'll feel ridiculed, but as a request from a son who wants to learn from the wisdom of his father.

Psalm 78 is a call for men to speak to their children and grandchildren (and through them, their great- and great-great-grandchildren—that the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children [v.6]) about the things of God, what He has taught them, what He has done. If your father doesn't acknowledge God's hand in his life, perhaps you can help your children see it… and through them, help your father see it. But, even if your father doesn't acknowledge God, you are building a "story" of God's faithfulness to tell to your children and grandchildren, that you may be the faithful patriarch you are called to be.

To honor means to "place a high value on" something. If you place a high value on your father's wisdom and experience, you are doing what God commands. Follow the example of 1 Peter 3:1-2:

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.
It's not a long walk to apply the same principle to honoring parents:

Sons and daughters, likewise, be honoring to your own mothers and fathers, that even if some do not obey the word, they without a word, may be won by the conduct of their children, when they observe your humility accompanied by fear.
As I often tell my children, it is "not your concern" how someone responds to your actions… if your actions are obedient and righteous. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18). The same applies to your efforts to love your wife, train up your children, love the brethren… and honor your parents. As much as depends on you means reading only the exhortations to you:
• "Honor your father and your mother…,"
• "Husbands, love your wives…,"
• "Fathers, do not provoke your children…,"
• "Love the Lord your God…,"
• "Impress them on your children…,"
• "I will open my mouth… I will utter dark sayings of old… [and] will not hide them from their children…"
…and not those that pertain to how others should treat you. Focus on your responsibilities and leave the rest to God.

Remember that God gave you your father. And He commands you to honor him. It's YOU He's after!

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Posted by Jim Bob Howard to Leading The Way at 8/18/2006 06:38:00 AM
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