I was raised by a college educated, single father, who went to work from 9-5 in a suit, then came home to pick up his young son, put on a janitor’s outfit, and together they went and cleaned an orphanage together. Well, maybe he cleaned, and the 8-year-old me occasionally emptied a trash can! My father did this because that is what was needed to be done to put food on the table and clothes on my back. I learned from a very young age, that there was no job that I was too good for when it came to providing for my family.
As I grew older, this lesson always stuck with me, but it was not until I gave my life to Christ and applied that lesson spiritually that I began to connect to the larger meaning.
So often men focus on providing for our families, and we justify the time we spend away from them by telling ourselves that it is our sacrifice that allows them to have the things that we did not. A bigger home. A nicer car. The newest clothing. We justify not being present by the “presents” it affords our families. Society has sold us on the idea that material things prove our love, but we know the truth. We know that there is more that God is asking of us.
“So, what am I supposed to do? Quit my job, have no money and be there 24/7?”
The Word clearly tells us what is expected:
1 Timothy 5:8
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
We are expected to provide for our households. It is not that we are going to always make every event or be able to tuck the kids in every night, but what we can do is be intentional with our time. I can allow my son to take that ride with me to pick up a gallon of milk from the store really quickly. I can use my lunch break to read my daughter her favorite book. I can rub my wife’s feet as we finally sit down in the evening. Why can I do these things? I can do them because at the root of why we convinced ourselves that we had to work so hard to give our families all those material things was that we wanted to see them smile and be happy. What makes them happy is knowing that YOU are their dad, husband, man of the house.
I do not remember many of the material gifts that my father ever gave me, but I will never forget those nights of cleaning that orphanage, and the excitement I had at the end of the night when we would play a game of H-O-R-S-E just before we left. I would not trade those moments for any material gift in the world.
1 Peter 4:8
“Above all, love each other deeply…”
BY MICHAEL FUTRELL