He is by definition a male parent, grandfather, and ancestor. In a broader perspective the title refers to the founder of an occupation or social group (Gen 4:2). In yet another sense he is a male who acts toward another with paternal kindness (Gen 45:8). It was used as a title of respect for a teacher or elderly man (1 Sam 10:2). In the spiritual sense the title refers to God, either as creator of the human race (Mal 2:10) or as the guardian of his spiritual children (Rom 8:15).
Concerning the topic for today name and nature, Iím thinking of the honest-to-goodness man who is distinctly that Ė discerning, decisive, strong-hearted man/men who know where he/they are going and is/are confident enough to themselves (and their God) to get there. Such a person is not afraid to take the lead, to stand tall and firm in his principles even when the going gets rough.
The flip side of the paragraph suggests because there is a negative aspect. I must tell you that Iím not thinking of television personalities like Archie bunker who slouches in his chair, shouts out the order and commands, giving the impression that he is monarch of all he surveys, his right there is none to dispute, family included.
Masculinity and strong fatherhood does not mean and must not be allowed to epitomise dogmatism, selfishness and prejudice. That type of father-figure lives in a fantasy world only imagining he is running the show by a kind of remote control.
Prolific writer, Charles R. Swindoll describes such a character as a frightened child inside a manís body, the object of sarcastic ridicule among family and close friends alike.
Against that background it is clear to see that to be a Father by name and nature is a tall order, especially in this age of vanishing masculinity as Brother Chuck Swindoll describes it - My thanks to him for that significant input.
FATHER BY NAME
Tell me, whatís in a name? Name or Title is the word by which a person, place or thing is known; a word by which something/someone is known. So whether we address him as Dad, daddy, Papa or any other affectionate name/title, we know what it does to our emotions and esteem.
The focus in this segment will be on the Leadership a Father provides or expected to provide. A case in point is the leadership of Eli marked with success as a Priest; not as a parent. (Read the account in 1 Samuel 2:12-17; 22-36).
Here is a brief background. Eli was the temple priest at Shiloh, who overheard the infertile Hannah praying for a son, although he did not recognize the true meaning of her prayers.
When the Lord granted her prayers, Hannah dedicated her son, Samuel to the Lordís service and placed him in custodial care to Eli. Ironically, Eli seemed to have greater success raising Samuel than his own two sons, Hophni and Phineas.
When the corrupt Hophni and Phineas violated Jewish custom and law regarding ritual sacrifices, they received only mild rebuke from the passive Eli, who should have removed them from their priestly office.
God responded by calling to Samuel at night and revealing His displeasure. The boy prophesied to Eli that God would end Eliís household. With the death of his sons in battle, the 98-year-old Eli recognized the fulfilment of this prophecy and fell dead himself. Whatís the significance?
Eliís failure to lead his family eventually led to his downfall as a religious leader. The Scripture teaches that if we do not faithfully lead our own household, we lack the qualifications to lead beyond the home (1 Tim 3: 4, 6). In other words, if it doesnít work at home donít export it. Elis emphasis was on teaching his colleagues and clients, not his family.
Eli failed to live out in his home what he taught in his work. With respect to entanglements, Eli got so caught up with the affairs of his secular life and that blinded him to what was expected of him as a father Ė by name and nature.
FATHER BY NATURE
Much has been said, and continues to be said that much of the delinquency, crime and violence plaguing our nation may be treaded back to failures in our homes.
It was Confucius who wrote: ďThe strength of a nation is derived from the integrity of its homes.Ē This is what Eli did not realise. If we bungle raising our children, it doesnít matter what become in the eyes of the world, that doesnít matter as much.
Contrary to what many teach or even believe, leadership in the home is not about power or control. It means though, assuming responsibility for the health and development of our relationships.
In researching this topic for practical and worthwhile content, let me shape these pungent pointers with you in closing.
We should endeavour to evaluate our home/family leadership in each of the following categories:
(1) Initiative: Do we give direction and take responsibility for our primary relationships?
(2) Intimacy: Do we experience intimacy with God and others through open conversation?
(3) Influence: Do we experience Biblical, ethical and moral influence by encouraging and developing others?
(4) Integrity: De we lead an honest life, unashamed of who we are, when no one is looking?
(5) Identity: Are we secure in who we are in the society/nation? Or are we always on the defensive?
(6) Inner character: De we exhibit self-discipline, fair-play, uncompromising positions and principles?
On this Fatherís Day, View Point extends best wishes and blessings from our Divine Master to Fathers throughout the nation and around the world. May God help us all to be good leaders!