Captain at the Helm

Ahoy, matees. All hands on deck! Danger’s a’ lurking ahead, and no one’s at the helm! If families were as ships on the sea, then who would be the captains? That’s right, it would be the man of each home. And so the cry must go forth- Awake, every man! Who is at the helm of your ship? Where is the man who is leading his family? Maybe you already are. And maybe you’re doing a fine job. But if you just look around, I’m sure you’ve noticed that many men need help and encouragement to rise to their calling as captains and leaders of their home.

It’s my strong opinion that if boys are educated in public schools; grow up consuming a lot of T.V. and un-Christian media; grow up in homes where the father is either rarely present, or if when present he fails to model Biblical male leadership; then most likely theses boys will be ill-prepared for the task of leading a family, let alone lead it in a Biblical way.

When the pressures and responsibilities of married-life and parenthood require us to act, we often search our tool chest of ideas and memories for some answers on how to deal with each situation. We face each challenge using the skills and standards we gleaned while growing up. Part of the problem is that if we’ve been neglected and untrained by our fathers, then we’ve been left to glean on the un-nourishing scraps of our women-dominated school systems, worldly TV, books, music, movies, games, and magazines, and especially by our peers- many of whom have likewise never had strong and mature male role models in their own lives.

The Bible is clear on the subject of men and women’s role distinctions. We are equally created in the image of God- we are the same in value.  Still, we are distinct in our strengths, giftings, roles, and callings. And one of those callings for men is to be the leader of their families. This shouts in the face our modern, politically-correct, feministic, and egalitarian society, where distinctions are denied, and men end up backing down for fear of upsetting the waters. We Christian men must learn to rebel against the world’s weak and confused expectations for masculinity. We must learn to go against the flow and lead, and not simply float around on the tides of the culture around us. But before we lead, we need to be clear about who we get our marching orders from. What will be the standard by which we judge our effectiveness as a leader? Will it be what we were taught and observed as a child?  What our current peers say? Or by the unchanging standard of God’s word?

Blessed are those who’ve grown up with Godly fathers, and have learned to walk in their footprints. Blessed are those who know God’s standard for Biblical manhood, as revealed in His word, and aim to achieve it.

Friends, Christian families suffer greatly when the captain of the ship, the man, refuses to take the helm and steer, and steer using the map of God’s word. There are dangers lurking all around, both in the water, and in the hull of the ship. Just as a ship at sea might face fierce storms, pirates, and submerged rocks; or internal dangers such as scurvy, rats, filth, and foul air; so too, families face dangers of various kinds, both from without and within.

A family without an active leader is like a ship with a captain who spends his time drinking, gambling, and sleeping instead of steering and looking out for the well being of those on board.  The boat will be tossed about with every wave and gust of wind. They are floating about with no real direction, and no way to avoid the dangers that surround them. Oh sure, many men have heard the calls of warning from others in the Church, but they do not know how to take hold of the helm. What does it mean to lead?

It’s the duty of every Christian husband and father to see their calling as leaders of the family; to set course for the far country; to make fast the ship- equipping it for the perils of the sea; and to make provision for all on board. May God wake us up, and help us to grab hold of the helm with one hand, and with the other, to clench tight on to the map of His word. We are captains at the helm.

Application:

What might be some of the practical implications of leading the home? How about sitting down and deciding how your family should use its time. Is it best that everyone comes home after work and school, only to go off into their rooms and pursue their own interests? Should the TV be on all the time? Should there even be a T.V. in the house to begin with? What about leading the family in daily devotions? You can start by picking a convenient time for everyone to come together in the living room, and read the Bible, talk about what you read, pray, and sing a few songs. That might take 5-10 minutes a day. That’s one great way to start leading your family.

How about reading books to your children, instead of plopping down on the couch to watch the latest game? Or how about going on a walk with your family, instead of sitting around surfing on the internet, or using your smartphone? Why not think of some good family activities that you can all do together during the evenings and weekends? You could alternate the activities so as not to bore the children, and keep things exciting. How about practicing Christian hospitality to your neighbors, or church friends? How about family game night? Or how about picking a good family movie to watch on Friday nights. But try to make it something that includes interaction by the end of the movie. Try to avoid passive activities where everyone takes the role of spectator instead of participator. Try arts and crafts. Try making cookies, beef jerky, or other snacks that everyone can enjoy. Granted, this all requires planning and action on your part. But if you tell your wife what you would like to do, maybe she can pick up the ingredients or supplies on her next visit to the store.

I’ve made a quick list of some activities you can do with your family, and you can check it out HERE.

The key is that you are playing an active role in the direction of your family. How you spend your time after work, or on the weekend tells a lot about your leadership in the home. Don’t force your wife to make all of the decisions about family life. Come home from work and take over. Make sure that you are concerning yourself with the needs of everyone in the family. That you’ve got your hands on the helm.

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