My most important job in life...the most important ministry God has given to me is my role as husband and father. I'm husband to an amazing woman and dad to two incredible kids, a 5 year old girl and a 2 year old boy.
And what a great job/ministry this is. I wouldn't trade my family for anything in the whole world. It's also a job/ministry that comes with a great responsibility. Paul speaks to this responsibility in Ephesians 5:25:
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (ESV)and Ephesians 6:4:
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." (ESV)I am humbled that God would give me the privilege of being a husband and father and I am challenged by the responsibility those roles entail. I would like to share with you a big challenge God put on my heart a few years ago.
As I prepared to celebrate my 5 year wedding anniversary in October of 2012, I was struck by the fact that my little girl would likely one day get married and celebrate anniversaries of her own. As such, I created a list of the qualities/characteristics I wanted her future husband to have. The list stated that I wanted my daughter to marry a man...
- ...after God's own heart
- ...of integrity
- ...of strong moral character
- ...of respect
- ...of sound judgment
- ...of ambition
- ...of selflessness
- ...of peace
- ...of unity
- ...of a guarded tongue
- ...of humility
- ...of romance
- ...of mercy
- ...of self-control
- ...of good stewardship
- ...of obedience [to God]
This list is not exhaustive but they were the valuable things I thought of at the time. I'm sure I could go on for hours thinking of more qualities to add to the list. If you are a parent and you have unmarried kids, I encourage you to make such a list.
The question after creating the list was what I should do with the list. My immediate thought was to pray over my daughter's future husband that he would have those qualities. And I still think that's a good idea. But then God challenged me with the following:
If I want my daughter to marry a man with those qualities and others, my responsibility as a father is not to simply pray for those qualities in him but to live out those qualities in my own life. I cannot expect my daughter to marry a man any better than I am willing to live myself.I shared 2 verses from Ephesians above, which are in context with each other. Do you see in this challenge how connected those 2 responsibilities are? I cannot bring my kids up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord if I do not give them the example of loving my wife as Christ loved the church. I need to model the discipline and instruction of the Lord before them.
A lot of dads want good things for their little girls and want an amazing man to marry their princess, but how many are willing to be the type of man they want their daughter to marry? I pray with God's strength that I will be that type of man.
The Bigger Picture
Since that list and challenge, we have welcomed our little boy into our family. That list can now also serve as the qualities I want him to have as a husband some day. And my wife has the responsibility of modeling a Proverbs 31 woman to my daughter and the type of woman my son will some day marry to my son.
We, as parents, have an incredible responsibility. Let's choose to be parents who bless our children with good examples of what it is to be men and women of God, men and women with great qualities and characteristics. Let's put our desires into action and live out the example before them.
As Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." (ESV)
You can check out my original post with the more expanded list from 2012.