by Mike McHugh
As a family man, I have long considered 1 Timothy 5:8 to be one of the most sobering verses in all of Holy Scripture. It reads, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
It is, after all, verses like the one noted above that clearly direct those in charge of households to take the duty that God has entrusted to them seriously. From God’s perspective, (and that is ultimately the only one that matters), a person who professes to love his Maker yet neglects to provide for those under his charge has a vain and worthless faith. A diligent study of the Word of God reveals that God has given four primary means by which a person can test the genuineness of his profession of faith. The four critical areas of testing involve one’s view and use of money or possessions, one’s use of the tongue, one’s willingness to minister to those who are poor or lonely, and how well a person cares for the needs of his own household.
For those individuals, who are sincerely interested in fulfilling their basic duty to care for their own house, the question naturally arises, “What are the basic needs of a family unit?” In reflecting upon this question, I have identified five fundamental and universal needs of a household. They are as follows:
1. Food, Clothing, and Shelter – Few, if any, would deny that those who are responsible for raising children or caring for aged family members are obliged to provide them with adequate nutrition, suitable clothing, and a roof over their head.
2. Theological Training and Spiritual Nurturing – Contrary to the view of many in modern society, heads of households have a moral obligation to teach and train their children to know and love the Triune God of Scripture. Under normal circumstances, this duty falls principally to the man of the house. Note Exodus 20:1-6, Deuteronomy 6, Proverbs 22:6, Matthew 4:4, and Ephesians 6:1-4.
3. Physical Protection – Those in charge of households have the ultimate responsibility to provide protection for each person under their care. Police officers and firemen may provide assistance on occasion, but the fact still remains that these public servants are not ultimately responsible for ensuring that the inhabitants of a household are safe. A wise and prudent head of household will take the effort to equip himself to defend those who are under his charge.
4. A Loving Environment – All individuals that are sent by Almighty God into families have the need to be loved and emotionally nurtured. The head of a household must, therefore, seek to provide for the emotional needs of each member of his house. The calling of parents in Ephesians 6:4 to “nurture” their offspring, suggests nothing less than that parents should shepherd their children in a very intimate and personal manner.
5. Education and Mentoring – Children that live in households need to receive a comprehensive education that will prepare them for life. Although household heads may elect to employ the services of godly educators from their local community, the ultimate responsibility for the education of children rests with parents.
As a home school dad, I regard my decision to personally direct the education and training of my children to be the best way for me to ensure that I provide for one of the fundamental needs of my household. I have not elected to home school, in other words, merely to enrich my children’s education, but as a means of demonstrating my faith by my works. The fact that I am willing to take responsibility for the basic needs of my household, is one way in which I can live out my faith and demonstrate that I love God’s ways.
When your time comes to stand before the judgment seat of Christ, will you be able to honestly say that you have fought the good fight of faith and provided for the basic needs of those whom God placed under your care? If you are not at all confident as the leader of a family that you will receive the words “well done” as you stand before the Lord, may Almighty God convict you of your need to mend your ways while there is yet time! To do anything less, would make you worse than an infidel, and unfit for the kingdom of heaven.
Copyright 2008 Michael J. McHugh
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