The Stewardship of Fatherhood
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 6/19/05
Do you recognize the name Will Durant? Perhaps not; but, since I have a graduate degree in history, I have read some of his historical writings. He authored a multi-volume set called The Story of Civilization, which includes volumes on Caesar and Christ, The Age of Faith and The Reformation. But, few people know that one of the main reasons Durant was driven in his quest for the knowledge of history was that he was searching for happiness. Will searched for happiness in study and learning, but discovered that knowledge alone did not bring happiness. Then he looked for happiness in travel, but found only weariness. He then thought wealth would bring him happiness and pursued it, quite successfully I might add, but found it brought him worry and discord. Then, he immersed himself in his writing, thinking that might bring a sense of satisfaction and happiness. But, it brought him only fatigue and exhaustion. Then one day he noticed a woman sitting in a small car cuddling a small sleeping child in her arms with a subtle smile on her face. Shortly after that, he watched as a man got off a train, scanned the crowd, locked his eyes on a woman holding a child, get a broad grin on his face, and rush over and kiss the woman and baby gently, so as not to wake him. Durant suddenly realized what he had just seen was happiness.
I must say that our children have given Linda and me much happiness. The writer of Proverbs says twice, "A wise son maketh a glad father…" (Proverbs 10:1; 15:20). That goes for our daughters too. It is a source of great blessing to me to that my children are, as John wrote, "walking in truth" (2 John 1:4). However, I also know that what Proverbs 17:25 is true as well -- "A foolish son, (or a foolish daughter), is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him."
Far too many fathers & mothers in our culture either give no thought, or have no plan, or do not want to take the time to rear their children. They just pretty much leave the children to themselves. The Bible warns against this. It clearly says, "…a child left to himself, bringeth his mother to shame" (Proverbs 29:15).
Turn with me to Psalms 127:3. The Psalmist wrote – "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward."
The Hebrew word heritage - נחלה nachalah (pronounced nakh-al-aw') is an interesting word. It means possession or inheritance. The word implies that children belong to God and are objects of His special care. They are entrusted to the parents for nurturing and rearing to the glory of God. Basically the verse is saying that children are a stewardship entrust to the care of the father and mother.
Before we move on, let me quickly review the definition of a steward. A steward is a person who manages and administrates what has been entrusted to him by another.
Since this is Father’s Day, our message will focus on The Stewardship of Fatherhood. God has a specific plan relating to family and fatherhood. Therefore, since it is God who established the family and gives children as an heritage, a father should be a good steward when it comes to fatherhood. The dictionary defines fatherhood as, "the state of being a father. A father is "a man who has begotten children."
The Stewardship of Fatherhood includes…
Let’s take a closer look at each point individually…
God is the one who defined the limits and boundaries of fatherhood. Since he designed fatherhood, he knows best how it should be carried out.
Turn with me to Genesis 2:24 "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." I feel I must point out that a man that is to cleave to his wife. The Hebrew word translated wife is female in gender. So, be it known that God’s standard is clearly that a man marries a woman! (see Romans 1:25-27). Next, you don’t have kids first, and then get married; you get married and then have kids. You will remember God brought Eve to Adam and united them, then instructed them to have children. The biblical order is marriage first, then fatherhood.
One of the indictments against many men in our culture today is that they fornicate before making a commitment. Then, when children come on the scene, they disappear. They want marital privileges without marital commitment. (See 1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
William Bennett put the problem of missing fathers succinctly in a 1986 speech on the family in Chicago when he asked, "Where are the fathers? ... Generally, the mothers are there struggling. For nine out of ten children in single parent homes, the father is the one who isn't there. One-fifth of all American children live in homes without fathers ... Where are the fathers? Where are the men? Wherever they are, this much is clear: too many are not with their children."
If you will be a faithful steward, you will follow God’s design. This is not just an Old Testament parameter. We read in Ephesians 5:31 "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." The word translated joined means to be glued to. And, even if God’s design is fractured, fathers, you should continue to be a faithful father to the best of your ability.
Ephesians 6:4 "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
One key reason why the values of the fathers are not being passed to their children is made clear in a study by Dr. Seymour Diamond, M.D. He discovered that fathers spend an average of only 38 seconds a day being totally attentive to their children’s needs. In contrast, In contrast, children watch television approximately 54 hours per week. If you will bring up your children biblically, it will take more involvement than 38 seconds a day!
I am reminded of the story of a young man was about to be sentenced to the penitentiary. The judge had known him from childhood, for he was well acquainted with his father--a famous legal scholar and the author of an exhaustive study entitled, "The Law of Trusts." The judge asked the boy, "Do you remember your father?" "I remember him well, your honor," came the reply. Then trying to probe the offender's conscience, the judge said, "As you are about to be sentenced and as you think of your wonderful dad, what do you remember most clearly about him?" There was a pause. Then the judge received an answer he had not expected. "I remember when I went to him for advice. He looked up at me from the book he was writing and said, ‘Run along, boy; I'm busy!’ When I went to him for companionship, he turned me away, saying ‘Run along, son; this book must be finished!’ Your honor, you remember him as a great lawyer. I remember him as a lost friend." The judge muttered to himself, "Finished the book, but lost the boy!"
Deuteronomy 6:4-12 is worth studying. It lays out a plan to programming the moral compass of your children biblically.
The first institution that God established was the
family. A Biblical family is made up of two parents (a male father and
female mother) rearing their children based on Biblical principles and
values. We need men who will be stewards of fatherhood. Step up to the