Our culture has too many limp wristed men whose Bibles have too little crease in its spine, who sleep past their alarms, get winded going up a flight of stairs, and find community in online gaming groups.
My firstborn child turned 10 years old today. Today I have been a father for a decade.
So, Dustin, what have you learned?
I can sum up the majority of the lessons I’ve learned in this one sentence: if you want to be a father, you have to be a man.
And I don’t mean that in a biological sense, that you have to be biologically male to be a father, as true as it is. That idea may be attacked in our culture, but it is nonetheless biologically true in that you cannot produce another human life without genetic material from a biological man and a biological woman.
But that’s not what I mean when I say that being a father requires one to be a man. I mean being a father requires being a man in an ontological sense. What it means to be a man, the essence of true masculinity, what it means to be a male created in God’s image, is necessary for being a father.
The essence of men as we are created is a call to accept responsibility. It is a call to accept the responsibility to aim your life at the welfare of others to the degree that you lay your rights down in order to bring others to a place where they are productive, well supplied, and safe.
In the beginning, God gave mankind the responsibility to fill the earth, subdue it, and rule over it in a way that put on display the perfect glory of God’s own kingship. This command is given to both men and women in Genesis 1 but in Genesis 2 we see that the mandate to work and keep the ground is given first to the man and then woman is created in order to be a helper to him in this task. They are both involved but the man should be the lead in cultivating the world to be a place where the perfections of God are put on display.
In marriage, Paul writes that it is the man’s responsibility to give himself up for his wife out of the delight that he finds in her. In parenting, both in Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3, fathers are given the charge of bringing their children to adulthood after the ways of the Lord in a way that encourages and not exasperates them. Proverbs makes clear that mothers have an equal share in that task but it is the father’s main responsibility.