Summary: Fathers should provide leadership, love and a legacy.
Responsibilities of a Father
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There are three primary responsibilities of a father. I want to share with you these responsibilities and urge the fathers here to take these on.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF A FATHER
Men should consider the responsibilities of leading the home. In Ruth 4, we have two men engaged in a conversation about taking the responsibilities of a family. All through this story, one family needed a male role model. Naomi needed a son to take care of her in her old age. Ruth needed a male to take care of her in her child-bearing age. Two men were in consideration: Boaz and the “Family Redeemer.”
Who is this “Family Redeemer”?
He is never named, but he is very important to the story. Not only does he bring tension to the plot (Can Boaz marry the woman he now loves?), but the family redeemer gives us a glimpse into the type of responsibilities a father should have. The main responsibility is leadership.
Can he provide financially for this new family? The Family Redeemer cannot, but Boaz can. Whatever the problem about losing his inheritance, the conversation is important enough that these two men talk about taking on the responsibilities that leadership in the home expects. Leadership comes with taking on responsibility.
Leadership is not an automatic right…
You earn leadership by the way you step out for your family:
THREE CHARACTERISTICS OF EARNED LEADERSHIP
Take the initiative (4:1)
Boaz took the initiative in building his family. He took the steps that were needed to secure Ruth and Naomi. Fathers, you are expected to take initiative. Don’t wait on the wife to do everything for the family. You take the initiative.
Your family is looking to you for “financial” initiative. You should be the primary wage-earner in the family.
Your family is looking to you for “relational” initiative. You should be the first to plan wholesome activities for your family.
Your family is looking to you for “spiritual” initiative. You should be the one who takes the wife and children to church. Sunday is not your day off. Children should not make the decision to skip church. You need to initiate it. You also should be setting the example at home.
Keep the family intact (4:3-5)
One of the roles of a father is to keep the family intact. This flows out of the initiative that Boaz used. In this scene, there was a crisis. The family name of Naomi would be lost forever. So in his culture, Boaz did what was necessary to keep his family intact. Fathers, you too need to do whatever it takes to keep your family intact.
In today’s American “do-what-I-want” society, marriage is relegated to a choice that has no consequences. Marriage is one test by God to fight against selfishness. God lets you marry to see if you will fight your own selfishness. Our problem is that we give up on marriage too easily. We say: Well, I am tired of all of this, and I just want to get out. It doesn’t matter which spouse is saying this. That phrase is the battle cry in a family at war. The war needs to be won. Fathers, you need to make the decisions it takes to keep the family intact. If you are in a battle, you need to get end the war. Wars end because of diplomacy.
Fathers, you need to do what it takes for diplomacy to win in your family. Wars are not won in families. Wars tear people up. Diplomacy wins. You have to negotiate.
Build unity in the family (4:5)
Fathers don’t use their leadership as a way to tear the family apart. His job is to build unity in the family. For families to survive and do well, fathers have to build unity. Unity is built on love.
The response of the “Family Redeemer” in (4:6) opens the door for Boaz to show his love for Ruth. This exchanging shoes was like the modern handshake used to seal a deal. Boaz makes his love for Ruth public to the people assembled today in (4:10).
Fathers, how do you publicly show your love for your family. Husbands, do you “brag” or “nag” about your wife? Do you “praise” or “complain” about your children?
Love should not to be assumed…
Fathers, have you said: “I love you” to your children?
Husband, have you said: “I love you” to your wife?
Whatever a father does, it builds a legacy.
There are three references in these verses:
Perez – he was the son of Judah and Tamar. He was the first chief of the army of Israel.
(1 Chronicles 2:4, 27:2-3)
Perez built a legacy that lasted for generations. Perez means “divided.” His family background may have been difficult.