After the flurry of celebrating Mother’s Day has come and gone, often times, Father’s Day creeps past in a more subtle way. But this does not mean that fathers are any less important. In fact, the Bible places a heavy responsibility on fathers, and they must rise to the occasion to be obedient to the Lord.
“Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving…… Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.”
How many groups of people do we see being addressed in the above passage? Wives, husbands, children, fathers, slaves and masters – 6? One way to look at it is to see that there were 4 groups of people. One same group was being addressed 3 times – husbands, fathers and masters. It is safe to say that a number of Colossian men were juggling these 3 roles as the head of the household (Most households had slaves in the Greco-Roman world. For example, Philemon, whose slave Onesimus had escaped, was a citizen of Colossae).
Imagine a Christian man reading this letter written by Paul. He would be challenged not once but three times to be obedient to the Lord by fulfilling his roles as a loving husband, encouraging father and righteous master. Indeed, when he fulfils these roles given to him, his wife, children and slave would naturally reciprocate and also find it easier to fulfil their roles as well – to submit to her husband, obey their parents and serve their master gladly.
Today, most men in Singapore would also find themselves faced with these 3 roles. At home, they are fathers and husbands. In the workplace, most would have subordinates to lead. Fathers, may you be blessed for having the privilege to shine for Jesus in these avenues. May you be challenged by the high calling that has been placed on your shoulders. Wives and children, may you also be encouraged to be the support that your husband and father needs to be a head of the house that can lead the family to be a testimony amongst the people around you. This may not be easy, but when we desire to obey the Lord, He will give us the necessary strength and journey along with us.
Happy father’s day!
Sister Cherlyn Oh