Written by the late Jim Everett
There are times when informative lessons are not needed – like the old farmer said when approached by the young agricultural graduate who wanted to sell him a book on how to farm better – “I already know more about farming than I use, so don’t need your book.” Frequently lessons have been presented that have addressed with great clarity and thoroughness (at least I think so) what the Bible teaches about the man’s responsibilities as a husband, as a father, and in the congregation as a leader. How many times have you heard Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 Timothy 3-ff; or 1 Peter 5:1-5 expounded? Sometimes, we admit, “Yes, I know what I should be doing” – and then go our separate ways, neglecting leadership responsibilities.
We don’t need lords, masters, kings or bosses. Nor do we need men who want to lead from secluded offices and only see members at the assembly. We need fathers in our homes who don’t shout directions from their recliners but who take an active part in the training of their children. Being a Godly father is not the result of the power of procreation but of a conscientious man who understands, loves and does the best to train his children (Cf. Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4) – the right kind of provider is not just someone who earns money to dole out to the wife and children.
We need men who are compassionate, insightful, and personally involved in relationships with God’s people. They must take the initiative and be good examples of what they teach. And, in order to do that they must establish spiritual values over prosperity, recreation, entertainment, and even education.
Men must want to lead. A reluctant leader is no leader at all. However, wanting to lead is not prompted by being a “control freak” but, rather, because one is aware of God-given responsibility. Literally, Paul says of one who would be qualified to lead in the congregation – “If a man aspires to oversight, he desires a good work…” (1 Timothy 3:1). Whether in the home or in the congregation, men must understand the accountability for not accepting responsibility (Matthew 25:14-29). But, when you accept the leadership, be prepared to accept the flak and criticism that go with it. Complainers and gossips want leadership for the wrong reasons. Can you imagine what kind of a mess Israel would have been in if Korah had led? A word to the wise is sufficient — if you are inclined to complain and murmur, try to imagine what it would be like if you were the object of your own criticism. Would things really be better, if you were leading?
If a husband doesn’t lead in the marriage, it forces the wife to take the lead – that comes with a price for the man and the woman. If a father won’t take the lead in the family, it forces the mother to shoulder extra work and reflects on the father in the eyes of the children. If men don’t take the lead in the congregation, it either goes without direction or women take the lead – confusion, strife, division or spiritual death is most often the consequence. In every instance, it is to the shame and disgrace of the man!
We need young men who are preparing to be good husbands, fathers, preachers and elders. Without early preparation the future looks dim for God’s people. Please, God, give us men who will act like men. – Jim R. Everett