Summary: In order to earn the heartfelt respect of their families, fathers must love and lead them.
A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father if they could discuss his use of the family car.
His father took him into his study and said, “I’ll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study the Bible a little, get your hair cut, and then we’ll talk about it.”
After about a month, the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss his use of the car. They again went into the father’s study where the father said, “Son, I’ve been very proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you’ve studied the Bible diligently, but you didn’t get your hair cut.”
The young man replied, “You know, Dad, I’ve been thinking about that. As I have been studying the Bible, I noticed that Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair.”
“Yes,” his father said, “but did you also notice that everywhere they went, they walked.” (Peg Beukema, Nyack, New York; www.PreachingToday.com)
Now, that dad was pretty sharp, trying to stay one step ahead of his children so he could give them the appropriate guidance.
It takes skill to be an effective leader in the home. It takes skill to guide your family in such a way that they respect your guidance and want to follow from the heart. In fact, it’s a skill which is transferable to effective leadership in any realm – not only in the family, but also in the church, at work, and in the community.
The question is: How? How can I earn the respect of my family and others I want to influence for God and for good? How can I lead in such a way that people, especially my children and grandchildren, want to follow from their own hearts?
Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to 1 Timothy 3, 1 Timothy 3, where the Bible gives us a long list of the qualities of an effective leader, but right smack dab in the middle of that list, it makes it very clear that such qualities are best demonstrated in the home. In other words, if anyone wants to be a true and effective leader in the church or anywhere else…
1 Timothy 3:4-5 says, "He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) -NIV
A man’s leadership abilities are tested in the home. In other words, if you want to find out whether or not a man is a good leader, just ask his wife and his children. Do they respect him? Do they want to follow his lead? Or do they resent his attempts to control and influence them?
Men, you can earn the heartfelt respect of your family and others just by paying attention to two words in these verses. The first word (in verse 4) is “manage,” and the second word (in verse 5) is “care.”
First, if you want to earn the heartfelt respect of your family and others, then you must…
LEAD YOUR FAMILY.
You must manage your family well. Literally, you must stand before them to guide and direct them. That’s what the word “manage” means in the original language. It pictures someone who “stands before” a group of people. He is in charge, and that is demonstrated by the willing obedience of those under him.
In the context of the home, “His children obey him with proper respect.” They do it willingly, not because they are forced to do it.
There was a little girl who was standing on her chair at the table, and her father told her repeatedly, “SIT DOWN!” But the little girl repeatedly refused to sit.
Finally, in anger, the father yanked her up off her chair, swatted her on the behind, and put her back in the chair. She was finally sitting, but in defiance she said to her dad, “I may be sitting on the outside, but I’m standing on the inside.”
Any man can get his children to obey on the outside. Just use brute force, coercion, or manipulation, but that’s not true leadership. The question is: Do a man’s children obey him on the inside as well as the outside? Do they obey him with “proper respect?”
Men, that’s entirely possible, but first of all you have to BE THERE. You have to BE THERE to stand before your family. You have to BE THERE in body AND in spirit to direct the affairs of your household.
Do not take a passive role in the home like most men in our culture do. Do not let your wife do all the work in managing the kids. Instead, YOU take the initiative to read to your children and bring them to church. YOU take the initiative to pray and play with your children. YOU take the initiative for the spiritual development of your children and grandchildren.