Sorry, not sorry, for the gender-specific, non-inclusive language of this work but…
…the future of our nation depends upon our men, our sons.
That is a fact.
As such, we (men) ought to quit dabbling in minutiae.
Not as they seem…
A couple of euro-beatniks illustrated this point.
My friends Ron, Luke, and I were working in Lima, Peru at Heart of Christ Ministries, an amazing ministry that teaches the Gospel to impoverished children in the slums of Caja de Agua. Each evening we’d retreat to a local hostel for some rest.
South America is rife with travelers and backpackers. The Andes Mountains make Peru a favorite and I’ve seen legions of them, Europeans in particular. One evening, we were hanging out in the common room of the hostel when two young travelers entered, a young man and a young woman. They could’ve been typecast for their role, complete with dreadlocks, shabby clothes, and a distinct laid-back vibe.
The man began to strum a guitar as we struck up a conversation. A German, he had toured in a band before deciding to take a year or two and travel. He wanted to ‘find himself’ and have time to discover life, or something to that effect.
I found this fascinating. I could scarcely imagine such freedom. My friend Ron was not as impressed.
“What a waste of time,” he uttered in disgust later.
“This young man needs to get serious about life and quit hiding from reality and responsibility.”
A clear call…
From first to last, God’s voice resonates from Scripture concerning His will for your life.
God desires that you pastor your family.
He desires that you make disciples of your sons. Period.
God’s original command to the couple were to that end. God commanded the man to know his wife in the most biblical sense of the word and to raise up their children as disciples. This was the original revealed plan for God’s people to spread across the earth. (Genesis 1:28)
The Fall soon corrupted every relationship and once the relationship between God and man was severed, men immediately set about their own way. Thus, children are born out of wedlock. Fathers neglect their children or walk away entirely. Instead of abrogating the original plan, the Fall strengthened the urgent need for fathers to engage.
As our sons are born into sin, they desperately need the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the most effective evangelist is a loving and engaged father. Reality bears this out.
Children tend to inherit the faith of their fathers, or lack thereof.
This is a fact.
Scripture speaks to this with the urgency and frequency with which God commands men to make disciples of their sons.
God gives us the great Shema, the great declaration of faith. “Hear O’ Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4) And then…teach these things diligently to your children. Talk about them all time, while you’re walking and standing or sitting or lying down. Write them on the walls of your home. Whatever it takes, but teach them.
The wisdom literature, the Psalms and the Proverbs, resonate with God’s call for fathers to disciple their sons, to raise them up in the way of the Lord that when they are older, they won’t depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Paul exhorts us, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesian 6:4) We are commanded, exhorted, encouraged, and equipped to accomplish the primary commission God has given us, to make disciples of our sons. They are desperate for this.
The slow death of our nation is a distinct reflection of our collective failure to make disciples of our sons.
So for God’s sake men, let us teach them!
The minute you die, the world will begin the process of forgetting all about you. Don’t believe me? Who was the most popular or richest man in your town 30 years ago? Twenty? That man is dead and buried. Gone. Forgotten.
The only true legacy we have is our sons.
Our children are not a hindrance or a nuisance. They are not an obstacle to overcome. The Psalmist tells us that our children are like arrows in the hands of warrior. They are our inheritance, our reward. (Psalm 127:3-4)
Embrace it. Embrace them.
A hard truth…
Let’s put first things first.
One must first be a disciple before one can make a disciple.
So as men, let us put the proverbial cookies on the bottom shelf. We’re men, correct? So we can speak candidly and frankly without worrying necessarily about feelings and such.
Are you a disciple of Christ?
Are you a follower of the risen Lord Jesus?
Have you confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in your heart that God raised Him from the dead?
Have you been saved?
You were born into sin, a rebel against a holy and righteous God. And He is angry at the sin of men. His wrath abounds and it had to be satisfied. As such, Jesus drank the full cup of the fury of God’s wrath at Calvary, serving as a substitutionary atoning sacrifice for all who would believe.
Do you believe?
Be real. I didn’t ask if you went to church, if you were raised as a Christian, if you did good things or were a good dude. Do you believe? Are you a disciple, seeking to live your life as a Christ-follower?
If not, you have infinitely more pressing matters to concern yourself with.
If so, amen!
Let’s talk about making disciples of your sons.
Our various pursuits…
While our sons die in the streets, we fathers tarry in the trivial.
Ron was talking about experience.
How many men spend their lives pursuing experience? Legions of aimless young men pour themselves into this pursuit, fleeing God’s call as a man. They travel, hike, backpack, seek out adventures, bungee jump naked from a hot air balloon, strapped to a motocross bike and a gnarly set of snow skis.
Experience is their god, adrenaline their drug.
While we waste time with such vain pursuits, the enemy remains busy destroying a new generation.
As we work 80-hour weeks, the enemy is just as busy making his own disciples of our sons. Pop culture, friends, media: we’ve entrusted the disciple-making of our sons to these and others and they are more than willing.
And don’t think the church is going to make disciples of them. Or your wife. That’s your job. Ever wonder why most kids brought up in this manner walk at the first opportunity? It’s because we have failed.
We put our stock in our vocation. Position is our drug.
Accomplishment is our god.
The acquisition of stuff governs us, motivates us. If only I had a bigger home, a better truck, a boat, a jet ski, a whatever. If only I could save up enough money to retire. Ahh, the holy grail of men, fiscal security.
“I work hard so they’ll have a better life.”
Leisure. College football. The internet. An endless array of dalliances distracts the most vital person in a son’s life, his father.
Two easy benchmarks readily indicate reality, the clock and the Bible. We ought to spend time with both, our sons and the Bible.
It’s the only way. All others lead to only death.
Don’t hear me say that work is bad, or taking care of your family.
God calls men to work hard, to provide for their families. Don’t hear me say that any of that other stuff is bad, in and of itself. I love the Ohio State Buckeyes as much as the next guy, but what about our sons?
Do they sit famished for discipleship while we neglect them for other pursuits that ultimately have no lasting merit, no eternal significance.
This is the issue.
Confronted with such truth, what then will you do?
Author - Founder
Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).
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