A lot of my thoughts and ideas come to me when I'm not doing "spiritual" things. For instance, I find that I think clearest when I'm doing something like driving. This morning, the following "sermonette" came while I was vacuuming my living room floor.
I haven't had the opportunity to do boatloads of weddings, but the ones I have done have followed what I believe to be a very biblical script. Of significant emphasis is the passage from Ephesians 5:22-33, specifically the verses "Wives submit to your husbands...Husbands love your wives, just also as Christ loved the church...To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband." Most who hear these words perhaps for the first time focus on the wives submitting to the husband part, but I think they miss the most difficult part when they do that.
In the context of marriage being a man means loving your wife just as Christ loved the church. How did Christ love the church? He died for the church. That's right, He laid aside all his rights to pride, ego, and success and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for an imperfect people. Translated for us this means that men need to stop putting themselves on the throne, give over that spot to Christ, and learn to serve their wives and families instead of insisting on being served.
But what about men who aren't married? Or what about men who have families but are divorced or had a child out of wedlock? It just so happens that I have three words for them as well: Be a man. For men who are divorced with kids there is even more of a challenge to being a godly father when custody rights are in play. Yet that doesn't give them the right to excuse themselves from being an integral part of their childrens' lives. I realize that some circumstances are beyond the control of the father, but what is in his control needs to be capitalized and acted upon in the lives of those sons and daughters.
As for the men who aren't married or have children out of wedlock, do I really need to say it? Be a man! Anybody can have a baby; it takes a man to be a father. "But you don't understand! I didn't mean for this pregnancy to happen!" Really? You mean when you were intimate with that young woman you had no idea that the natural bodily mechanisms could come into play and that conception could occur? What did you think would happen? A one-night stand or maybe a series of casual but "safe" encounters with absolutely no strings attached? Maybe in Hollywood but not in reality.
Sure, those words are blunt perhaps even harsh. But are they wrong? Should someone show me from the Bible where God honors "absentee fatherism" then I'll gladly recant my words. And absentee fathers aren't just the ones who abandon their families. How about the dads that come home day after day and basically ignore their wives and kids? Home is just a place to eat,sleep, and pick up clean clothes. Those men have abandoned their families as well.
Single guys, if you read this you will perhaps sense that there's a message, if not a warning, in all of this for you. There are enough guys out there who can father kids or financially support a family. What God wants are men who will be godly fathers to their children and godly husbands to their wives. It involves time, it involves sacrifice, it involves a death to oneself. Yet the pure joy and satisfaction of modeling Christ in the home is more than enough reward for the work that is put into it.
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