|Vol. 12 No. 8 August 2010||
By Ed Benesh
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). “I counted to infinity and back; what took so long?” That was what my youngest son said after he had to wait on me for about 10 minutes before he could get on the computer and play one of his learning games. I doubt very seriously that he understands the idea of infinity, except to say that it means a long time. We hear folks use the word or synonym this way all of the time. “That took an eternity to do!” “It’s been an eternity since I’ve seen you.”
Yet, God has a whole different idea in mind. Eternity in the Bible carries several ideas, but two stand out as they are relative to man. First, it is what is next. Second, it is timeless, never-ending existence. For each and all of us, this eternity is coming, whether we like it or not, whether we believe it or not. Eternity is the next and final journey of our existence. How do we know? Because eternity does not end! There is no “next” in the eternal scheme of things.
Knowing this to be so, God has made man aware of this by virtue of creation. From birth, the notion of eternity is real to us; we know there is more than this and must be taught otherwise to deny it. God wants it that way. Yet, He has also kept us at arm’s length so that we must choose to believe in Him, love Him and serve Him. In this day, choose eternal life with the Father, by choosing to live for Him today.
Jeff A. Jenkins
A preacher friend and I have lunch together every week when we are both in town. We always talk about family, sports and our work. We talk about recent activities that we have been involved with in our ministries. During a recent visit, he was telling me about being called by a local funeral home to preach a funeral for a homeless man. This particular man had one son who met with my friend about the funeral. My friend asked the son if he could tell him some things about his dad. The man replied by saying, “Sir, I am sorry to say that I did not know my dad.” He continued to tell him that he had not been involved with his dad’s life in many years. How tragic in our day that there are fathers and sons who do not know one another.
After attempting to help families for more than thirty years, it is my belief that the most important relationship in a young boy’s life is his relationship with his father. I am thankful that as a young boy that my father was involved in my life. I am thankful that I had a son in whose life I was deeply involved when he was a young boy. It is not coincidental that God’s Word speaks about the relationship between fathers and sons. When God’s people were about to move into the Promised Land, God gave the following instructions. “Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God … These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons…” (Deuteronomy 6:1-7). The Holy Spirit told the apostle Paul to remind Christian fathers of the importance of their relationship with sons. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
These passages along with others make it clear that God expects fathers to be the spiritual leaders in the home. Fathers should be their sons (and their daughters) heroes, mentors, teachers and spiritual guides. In our day, we have more good information available to help families than at any other time in the history of the world. Go into any Christian bookstore and you will find an entire section of books and periodicals written specifically to help families. There are seminars and classes designed to strengthen families. Churches are more aware of the need to encourage families than ever before. I receive calls regularly from churches requesting special lessons to encourage families. Many churches have a “Family Minister” to help families. With all of this information and help, how are we to explain the fact that families seem to struggle more today than ever?
Some would suggest that is because of the materialistic society in which we live. Others might say it is because of the media saturated society of our day. Some would blame it on the high divorce rate around the world. Still others would say it is the wrong kind of influences in the lives on our children. Some would blame the church for its failure to teach the old truths of the Gospel. While all of these may be factors in the demise of the family (and I am certain that other factors could be mentioned), is it not possible that another key to the family struggles is the failure of fathers to understand the role God designed for them? There are too many homes without fathers present, and even in some homes where fathers are present they have abdicated their God-given responsibilities.
I would like to encourage every father who reads this article to consider seriously renewing his commitment to his family. We must remember that we will someday stand before God and at least part of what we will give an account for is the spiritual leadership we provided or failed to provide for our families. Many fathers I know work hard to provide physically and materially for their families. They make sure that their children are well educated and well trained. Yet, they sometimes forget the spiritual help that their families so desperately need. I know it is not easy. In our day, it is difficult to buck the trend and go against the crowd. It is during those years when our sons are young that they need us the most. These are the years that their values and much of their direction for life will be formed.
Fathers often get a bad rap from the television programs as well as other forms of media. Fathers need to network with other men who are spiritually astute. Fathers should seek the advice of older men who have already raised their children. Godly men can help because of the successes and failures they have experienced in their lives. There are many things our children will know when they leave our homes. They will be most blessed if they know their dads. They should know a dad who loved his Lord, who loved his wife and who loved his children.