The evidence is convincing that the better our relationships are at home, the more effective we are in our careers. If we’re having difficulty with a loved one, that difficulty will be translated into reduced performance on the job. In studying the millionaires in America (U.S. News and World Report), a picture of the “typical” millionaire is an individual who has worked eight to ten hours a day for thirty years and is still married to his or her high school or college sweetheart. A New York executive search firm, in a study of 1365 corporate vice presidents, discovered that 87% were still married to their one and only spouse and that 92% were raised in two-parent families. The evidence is overwhelming that the family is the strength and foundation of society. Strengthen your family ties and you’ll enhance your opportunity to succeed.
Zig Ziglar in Homemade, March 1989.
Genesis 2:24 (NIV) 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Genesis 1:28 (NIV) 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; The family is described very early in the Bible. The two shall become one flesh. They are to multiply and have children. They have a responsibility to work and to care for one another. Adam and Eve are our biblical example of the original family, a father and mother united together, producing children. Children are to be born to two committed parents, committed to one another and to their children.
The Bible confirms this when it tells us, “You shall not commit adultery,” which is to have sex with someone that you are not married to. We are not to conceive children outside of marriage.
When we do not obey God’s word, there are consequences:
63% of all youth suicides are from fatherless homes
85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
85% of youth sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home.
Nearly 40% of children in America do not live with their fathers. Just as bad a problem is fathers who are at home but ignore their children.
Perhaps the most relevant missionary challenge for our society was penned by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians: Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father. (I Cor. 4:15 NIV) Paul knew that these people didn’t need another teacher, their needs were much deeper, they needed a father. The same is true in our day. First, your own children need you to be their father. Fatherless children in our community need to know the care and concern of a father figure.
We who call ourselves Christians need to reverse the trend and invest our time and energy, more than our money into our children. God sets the greatest example of the importance of fatherhood. A quick look at the trinity shows us that God desires to relate to us as a father. Of all of the ways that God could relate to us, he desires to be our father.
God is our Father
Psalms 68:5 (NIV) A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
Isaiah 64:8 (NIV) Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
God desires for us to relate to him as our father. When Jesus teaches the disciples to pray, he instructs them to address God as Father. When God saves us from sin, the Bible says that we have become his children. The Bible tells us that God loves us as children, protects us as children and even disciplines us as children. If God considers his relationship with us as father to be important, than it is just as important for us to take our job as fathers seriously.
Matt 7:9-11 (NIV) 9 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Jesus takes for granted the typical treatment of a father toward his son. If the son asks for food, a father is going to provide it for him. While 60% of children still live with their fathers, it is now nearly 40% of children do not live with their fathers.
We as Christians should be setting the standard for how children ought to be treated. Last week, we looked at Deuteronomy 6.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
If we are to impress God’s instruction on our children, we are going to have to spend time with our children. Young people, you can begin making decisions now that will affect your future family, when you will marry, the type of person that you will marry, that you will wait until you are married. Marriage is intended for life and children are a gift and a responsibility given by the Lord.