Leadership In The Family

You don't demand that kind of a leadership, you have to earn it on your knees.

Scripture: 1 Timothy 3:4, 2 Corinthians 6:16


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, that little greeting establishes the fact that this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. I look forward to these times when I can share with you from the Word of God, because it blesses me and challenges and convicts me, and I know if there’s some effect in my own life, then perhaps there may be some blessing for you, dear ones, as well.

We were looking at 1 Timothy 3:4. One of the qualifications of a leader in God’s work is that you have a position of leadership, spiritual effective leadership, in your own family. That verb “ruleth well.” “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.” The verb that’s translated, “ruleth well,” means “to be set over,” or “to superintend,” or “to preside over.”

God has put you in a position of responsibility. You stand between God and your family. Yes, you do. And your work is to intercede and to be so full of God’s Spirit that when you step into a situation, people feel the presence of God. You don’t demand that kind of a leadership, you have to earn it on your knees. This verb, “ruleth well,” “proistemi,” means also to be a protector or guardian. Had you thought about that aspect of your position as father in the home? To be a protector or a guardian. Now, that doesn’t mean that when your child has some kind of mishap at school, you go over to the school and give the teacher a bad time, necessarily. However, if… Let’s use the public school illustration for a moment. If in school, the teacher singles out your child because he or she is a Christian, and is unfair or discriminating, then you might very well inquire. Don’t go with your fists clenched ready for a fight, but just inquire as to what’s going on. Because a loving inquiry oftentimes makes a great deal of difference in a situation. You’re there to protect and you’re there to be guardian, because you’re responsible.

Had you thought about that part of it? Not just to go to work every morning and come home and eat dinner and look at the paper or the TV, and then go on to bed, and in the process, say to Junior, “You better do your homework.” That’s the usual routine, isn’t it? I wonder how many millions of children are told by fathers who’ve just gotten home from work that they ought to do their homework. Well, that’s part of it, I’m sure, but that isn’t all of it. You’re the protector, you’re the person who watches out for them. You protect them from things that would harm them, and you also try to protect them from making the mistakes that would ruin them. Have you sat down with your child and talked about drugs? Have you taught your child that it makes sense to say no to drugs? See, there’s drugs in the grade school and the junior high school now, not just in the high school and college. The drug traffic is everywhere in the school system. You know that, of course. Not only on the street corners is it sold, but in the school yard.

Have you talked to your child about the fact that this is one of the things that you just say “no” to? Because it’s just as lethal as sticking your hand in the fire; you can be burned, except that the drugs burn your brain. They fry it, like you fry an egg in a skillet. Have you talked to them about that? You’re their protector. You’re there to protect them. You don’t just say, “No, don’t do it.” You tell them why. You explain to them, so they know a rational basis for the way you ask them to live. Have you sat down and talked to your young people about AIDS and about the sanctity of sex, the way God planned it? Here, they’re growing up and their bodily appetites are at their peak, and society is saying, “Go ahead, indulge yourself,” and God’s Word says, “Wait until marriage.” Have you talked with your children as their protector? Not as the disciplinarian and say, “If I ever catch you out doing that again, I’ll skin you within an inch of your life.” No, not that.

Have you talked and prayed with them? You’re their protector. You’re there to show them how to avoid the heartbreak that sin brings, and that drugs bring, and that illicit sex brings. Have you talked to them about what alcohol does in a man’s brain, and how it costs in terms of broken homes and broken lives and billions of dollars in the national product as well? Have you talked to them about that? You’re their protector. Have you told them – aside from telling them, “Don’t smoke” – have you told them why not? See, these are some of the things to think about, aren’t they? And it takes patience, and it takes prayer. When you enter into a conversation like that, you better be prayed up so that you’re not tense and embarrassed and fumbling through words, on one hand, or else bulldozing your way through their feelings, on the other.

You have to establish rapport with the small fry so that they feel comfortable with you when you talk with them. You’re their protector, you’re their guardian. Then another meaning of this word, “proistemi,” “ruleth well,” is “to give aid.” To give aid. And that can cover so very many different situations. It extends from picking up the two-year-old when he or she falls and skins a knee, to helping with the homework, to putting your arm around the shoulders of a 17-year-old who has just been dumped by the first person he’s ever been in love with. Oh, that hurts, doesn’t it? Giving aid covers the whole waterfront of human experience. You’re there when you’re needed. You’re there when you’re needed.

I asked a young man in college years ago, when I was president of the college, I said, “Why are you so bitter about your father? What did he ever do to you that was so terrible?” He said, “He never did anything, but he was never there. When I needed him, he wasn’t there. He was always helping somebody else’s kids, but he was never there when I needed him.” Oh, that’s a bitter pill to swallow, isn’t it? If you’re gonna be a Christian father, you’d better be there when you’re needed.

I got in touch with a Board of Trustees years ago. They didn’t fire me, but they were displeased, it turned out. I got a message that one of our children had been involved in an auto accident. The van in which she had been riding with some church people had struck another vehicle, and she was in the hospital. As it developed, it wasn’t all that serious and they discharged her after awhile, when we got there. But when we got the message, the message was, “There’s been an accident. Your child is in the hospital.” And when I got that message, I simply said, “Fellas, you’ll excuse me.” I’m gone and I was on the way within minutes to that location and to that child. Well, I don’t know, maybe you can’t always do that. But you can, my dear friend, make an effort at it, can’t you? To be there, to give aid, to give aid, to be there when you’re needed.

That is your number-one job with that child. Because if you’re prayed up, if you’re walking with the Lord yourself, and full of the Holy Spirit – we covered that a moment ago – if you are filled with God’s presence, then when you come into that situation of need, you bring God with you into it. He walks in your shoes. That’s what 2 Corinthians 6 says, “I will walk in them.” God’s presence walking into the room, when you come in there and you say, “Hello, sweetheart, I’m here.” You get the idea? To be there.

Then it says, there’s one more meaning to this word. It’s a big assignment, isn’t it, father? Well, it’s the Bible. “One that ruleth well,” to be presiding over, to be responsible, to be a protector and guardian, to give aid. And then it means “to give attention to,” to give attention. Do you know some parents never really notice their children – unless they’re bad, and then they notice them? The secret to some children’s bad behavior is simply that they don’t get attention any other way. Notice them.

Somebody asked the secret of Hallelujah Joe Ankerberg’s success with a class of boys many years ago. Old Brother Ankerberg is now with the Lord, several years, and his son and his grandson have carried on a tremendous ministry in his footsteps. But, oh, he was successful for many years as the teacher of a huge class of boys on Sunday. Somebody asked the secret of that success, and the answer came back: Joe would notice something about a boy, even if it were only one new shoelace. Now, I can identify with that, because when I was growing up, we were poor and you didn’t use a pair of shoelaces. You used one. You replaced the one that broke. And then when the other one broke, you replaced that. One new shoelace. Notice something about them. Oh, how people would respond if you can see that they’ve put effort into looking their best. I’ve seen that happen so many times. I’d see a student coming down the hall, I would know that he or she had put a little effort into looking good that day, and I’d say, “Hey, you look great today.” And they’d brighten up, and they’d feel so good about it. Say something encouraging. Notice people. Look at them, and smile, and call them by name, and notice them, to give attention to them.

Here again, I’ve had to deal with youngsters who were bitter about life and about their parents. And I was asking a young gal, she was, I suppose, 18 or 19. “What’s the matter with you? Why are you so bitter?” She said, “My father and mother never paid any attention to me. I’d try to tell them and they wouldn’t pay any attention. All they would do is yell when they thought I was bad.” Never paid any attention? Yes, that’s the problem. So busy making a home, so busy making a living, so busy trying to succeed, so busy with other things, that you fail to pay attention to that precious life that has been entrusted to your care under God.

All of these meanings are wrapped up in that little Greek word that is translated in your Bible, “ruleth well.” You wanna think about that and put it to work? Pray about it. That’s the first thing to do, until your own life is full of the presence of God.

Oh, Dear Father today, make us people whom Thou can trust with the responsibility of a family, children and grandchildren, relatives and friends gathered around us. Help us to be faithful to the end to bring the very presence of God into our relationship with these dear ones. I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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