What Are Fathers For Anyway?
Modern times have looked skeptically upon the role of fatherhood. Historically, the father was the leader of the home and mother was his right hand. Dad brought home the bacon and mother cooked it, as the saying went. These days are a bit different. Now, we are taught that mom brings home the bacon and dad better cook it! To think otherwise, or even question this, makes us a chauvinist in some people’s eyes. What is going on here? Often we are given the impression that a father is not needed except to make the child, and now, well, we have ways around that too. All the while children, even grown children, are crying out for a warm relationship with a real, loving father. Countless studies have shown that many people are suffering emotionally because, for one reason or another, they did not have a deep relationship with their father.
It is true that in a good bit of this men themselves are to blame. But, if we are paying attention to the toxic culture around us, it will not take long for us to see that boys and men are not being given a healthy vision of manhood from the culture movers in our society. Television and the movie industry seem to love making dad the villain or the idiot of the family. Unfortunately, the Christian community has a sinful tendency to follow the culture more closely than Christ’s commandments. Most Christian congregations have little commitment to the biblical teaching about fatherhood. When a civilization, and I use the term loosely, gets as far off on the family as ours has, we may ask questions that otherwise would be obvious. We’re addressing one such question, “What are fathers for anyway?”
Dr. David Jeremiah has compiled a job description for dads that is enlightening for some; I am sure.
“The father must be a man of vision, strength, and character, capable of leading an in-service training organization that will in time reproduce parents like himself. He must carry on his training at all levels. He must be able to cooperate effectively with his helpmate, give advice and counsel as needed and provide spiritual help and leadership. He must care for his own personal problems, prepare his own budgets, and maintain good public relations. He must be a qualified service and repair man. He must be willing to do whatever is needed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Finally, he must provide his own salary as well as the financial needs of the entire organization.”
Let’s give our hearts to what God’s Word has to say about the nature and importance of fathering.
Fathers Are Providers.
Dad provides a pattern for manhood. God intends fathers to be the primary teachers in their homes. A biblical father shepherds his family, discipling them in the commandments of Christ instructing them about sin and biblical wisdom for life. Proverbs 1:8–19, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching,  for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.  My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.  If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason;  like Sheol let us swallow them alive, and whole, like those who go down to the pit;  we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder;  throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse”— my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths,  for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.  For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird,  but these men lie in wait for their own blood; they set an ambush for their own lives.  Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.”
Dads provide a pattern for their daughters as well by being the kind of man to marry. The subconscious mind of every little girl, for better or for worse, makes this assumption, “So this is the kind of man I should look for.” Or, “This is how my husband should treat me.” Of course, this is true of the mothers as well. Dads provide a pattern for their sons. Boys make similar subconscious assumptions, “So this is how I should be.” Or, “So this is what being a man is like.” It is not hard to see how this can go well or go badly.
Dad provides a purpose for manhood. Joshua 24:14–15, “Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.  And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Fathers are for fixing things. Commodes, bicycles, faucets, lawnmowers, leaky pipes, rotten boards, broken fences, flat tires, and troubled hearts are just a few samples of the many things dads fix. That’s our nature; isn’t guys? Ladies must understand this about their husbands. Children should learn this about their fathers. When you bring him a problem, his first instinct for showing love to you is to try to fix it for you. This, ladies will attest, is the source of some of his and your frustration. he is frustrated because he, perhaps, cannot fix this one. She is frustrated because she only wanted him to listen. Although dads cannot fix our problem, they want to and I believe that is a God-given trait. It is an initiative instilled in the male makeup given by the Creator to help him accomplish his part of the work of the home. Not that dads have the ability to fix everything. Men must channel this energy to point their families to the One who can fix all things.
Dad provides a personality for manhood. Fathers, with their wives, are the pacesetters for the home. We’ve heard the saying, “If momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” Aside from this being an unhealthy philosophy, we might also affirm that if daddy is not a happy person, no one in the home is likely to be at peace either. Fathers must constantly check themselves to make sure they are sending Christ-like signals to their children. Are we setting the tempo too high causing discouragement? Is the mood gloomy? Or, is the home irreverent and crass? Is the attitude filled with joy in God and faith in His commandments or filled with doubts and confusion? Our children pick up our pace and follow it, often without even knowing it.
Fathers Are Protectors.
Dad protects through leading. Ephesians 5:22–33, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,  that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,  because we are members of his body.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
Abraham, the Scripture says, would command his home (Genesis 18:17-20). Both the elders and the deacons are told in 1 Timothy 3:4,12 and Titus 1:6 to “rule” or to lead their house well. One essential way that Christian fathers protect their families is by their leadership. The gospel-driven dad hones his skills through prayer, Bible study, and worship to protect his family under the shelter of his leadership. His family is safe because they have a father at the helm who is not disengaged, passive, or bitter. Instead, the biblical man takes up the mantle given him by God to raise the next generation in the gospel for the glory of God.
Dad protects through security. Dr. David Jeremiah, tells of a lady who said that every time she smells a cigar she thinks of her first childhood memory. This memory was of her daddy holding her while walking around the room after she had had an accident. She recalls how big his shoulders seemed to her as a little girl and the smell of cigar smoke on his shirt. What a comforting image. I’m sure that throughout her life when things got hard, this woman brought to mind the image of her daddy and his big, strong arms. The Scriptures say of our Heavenly Father, “Underneath us are His everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27, “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms…’” A good father leads his family to God. A good father reflects the love of the true Father, the Heavenly Father.
Fathers Are Priests.
The biblical dad shares the gospel with his family. Fathers are evangelists. Talk to your children about God. Tell them how to believe in Jesus and why. You hold more sway in their lives than you think. God designed it this way so let’s use it for His glory and our good. Deuteronomy 6:1–9, “Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it,  that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.  Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.  “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Ephesians 6:1–4, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),  “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
We have been thinking biblically and clarifying in heart and mind our calling to be men of God. This call is to humility, not perfection. Our call is to humble ourselves under the authority of our Heavenly Father, to follow His commands, and define our task according to His Word. Let’s not become discouraged because we now see our failings more clearly. Do not let that hold you back. We must humbly receive the instruction from the Lord as it is, not to shame us, but to equip us for greater usefulness to Christ, His Kingdom, and our families.
I love you, folks,
Pastor Scott Slaughter