Man Up - #4 - Deference
One of America’s favorite programs on network television is Parenthood. This program depicts a terribly dysfunctional family that in the end seems to be able to work everything out. The siblings love each other. The parents seem to love each other. Their young adult children sleep around jumping from one sour relationship into another against the counsel of a mother and an estranged alcoholic father who…well that's another story. What troubles me most about this program is its connection to our culture in general that has "sissified" the American male. Women rule the roost because they are more intelligent, beautiful and always on the cutting edge. The men on the other hand are irresponsible, unintelligent and usually wrong. It is like Jackie Gleason and the Honeymooners all over again with a loud but stupid bus driver always having to say he is sorry to his much wiser and more stable wife and a sewer worker best friend who graduated from the “University of Dufuses."
Having said that, another mark of true manhood is deference. Yes, I mean men are to defer to their wives in a truly God-honoring way. That's the message of Ephesians 5, that great marriage chapter that parallels the relationship a man is to have with his wife to the relationship of Christ to His Church. In verse 22 Paul says that a woman is to submit to her husband. That has troubled the feminists since the early 70’s. There is even an episode of All in the Family where Gloria, the feminist daughter of the bigoted Archie mocks that passage. It is a grossly misunderstood and misinterpreted passage. But I will save that discussion for another time. But, do not skip over what precedes that passage. Verse 21 actually calls for mutual submission between a man and a woman.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:15-21ESV)
In first Timothy chapter 3 Paul outlines the qualifications for church leadership.
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. (1 Timothy 3:1-7, ESV)
Elders must be a “one woman man” and able to manage their own households well. A manager is a good steward of the resources God has entrusted to him. Managers have a team full of talented players. Imagine the manager of a professional baseball team playing his best pitcher as the team’s cleanup hitter. Pitchers are not good hitters and cleanup power hitters are not good pitchers. Do you get the picture? Managers are expected to place their talented players in the best possible positions where they have the best chance to win the game. If your wife is able to manage money better than you, then man up and defer to her. If your wife is more capable of doing things around the house that traditionally is men's work then man up and defer to her.
Deference is not a shot at our egos. Deference is wisdom. Godly men know how to defer the right things to their family members. However there are some things that may never be deferred. First and foremost is that you as a man must be the spiritual priest in your home. Spiritual leadership must emanate from you. Sadly that has become something man has long ago abrogated to their wives. Look around in the church the next time you are there. If your church is typical they are over-weighted with women. The men are absent.
There is no doubt that a child needs his or her mother. But a child also needs his or her dad. Men who are truly Biblical will man up and lead their families. Their leadership is something that cannot be deferred. God will hold each of us responsible for how well or poorly we led our families spiritually. Foundational to spiritual leadership is a commitment to the Word of God. Prayer is man's way of communicating with God. Scripture is God's way of communicating with man. Prayer and scripture are Siamese twins that can never be separated. True spiritual leaders know how to pray. True spiritual leaders know how to handle the Word of God and are committed to the development of that skill. These are the tools God has given to us as men. We are to manage our households and defer the gift mix of our family members playing on their strong points. But God will never permit us to defer leading our families in prayer and in the study of his Word.
Breast Cancer: This resource will help a husband better understand his wife’s feelings and emotions that plague her as she battles this illness. It will also better equip family and friends to walk alongside of those with breast cancer.