Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 1 Timothy 3:12
Looking back over the years, I can say that I’ve always spent a lot of time with my kids. Being a workaholic isn’t my life struggle, and I simply prefer to be home with my family when I’m able. So, even in my years of active addiction, I told myself that though I was struggling with drugs, at least I was a good father. Spending time with my kids certainly is a good thing, but I was fooling myself. In my addiction, though I was physically home, I didn’t put my children or their best interests first. I put me and my self-destructive appetite above all. In doing so, I almost tore our family apart. I lost my job and nearly my career. I had to leave and go away to treatment. Those are definitely not things that define the behavior of a good father.
So, in recovery now, I’m still learning how to put others interests ahead of my own. My wife once told me that even sober, I didn’t always consider how my actions affected others. She was right. I still must make a conscious effort to contemplate what impact my decisions has on those around me. Daily, I must ask if I’m living in a way that has my family’s best interests in mind – or if I’m simply doing whatever I want.
In today’s passage, Paul described the home life of a godly man who was fit for being a deacon – or church leader. In it, he said that such a man must manage his own household well before being allowed to lead others. A real man’s first job is within his own home, being a good husband and father.
For most of us who have children, this is a challenge. We naturally love our children, but even though we love them, it’s still unnatural to live sacrificially, putting their interests ahead of our own. We simply want to do what we want to do. A good father though, lives for the best interest of his children, often ignoring his own natural, impulsive nature. Our first job is within our home, living rightly before God, loving our children, and doing what’s best for them. That doesn’t mean we give them whatever they want. It means we spend time with them, knowing them, learning what they need, modeling faith for them, and helping them grow into the adults God wants them to be. A good father lives not for his own wants, but for his children’s needs. A good man’s first – and most important – job is at home.